Germany, Switzerland agree talks over tax evasion dispute

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Switzerland and Germany's finance ministers on Wednesday agreed to open talks next year to resolve a bitter row over tax evasion and Swiss banking secrecy.

Germany has been one of the fiercest European critics of the impact of its Alpine neighbour's banking secrecy in recent years, complaining that it encouraged German taxpayers to hide money in Swiss bank accounts.

"Today, Federal Councillor (minister) Hans-Rudolf Merz and the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble signed a joint declaration on the initiation of negotiations concerning tax issues between Switzerland and Germany," the Swiss and German finance ministries said in a statement.

"Switzerland and Germany are confident that the negotiations will lead to a fair and lasting solution in the interests of both states," it added.

© 2010 AFP

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