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Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to improve British-Swiss relations. (139057)

The UK and Switzerland enjoy an excellent bilateral relationship with regular dialogue involving British and Swiss Ministers, ambassadors, parliamentarians and officials. High-level British visits to Switzerland are frequent, an example being the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in January, which was attended by my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and several other Government Ministers. We also share many strategic priorities with the Swiss, such as action on climate change, and foreign policy concerns, such as a successful settlement for Kosovo. We enjoy excellent trade relations with Switzerland. In 2006, Switzerland was the UK’s second largest non-EU market after the US, with goods exports totalling almost £4 billion. Switzerland is the sixth largest investor in the UK, with Swiss companies estimated to provide over 100,000 UK jobs.