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Both finance ministers praised the cordial bilateral relations between Singapore and Switzerland. The city state of Singapore is Switzerland's fourth most important trade partner in Asia after Japan, China and India.
After discussing the increase in resources and governance reforms in the international financial institutions at this year's International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meetings from 25 - 26 April in Washington, President Merz and Minister for Finance Shanmugaratnam continued these discussions today. President Merz conveyed to his guest the expectation that a quota reform in the IMF will only be taken into hand once the crisis has been resolved and the 2008 quota and voice reform has been implemented.
The procedure of the OECD and the G-20 in establishing which criteria should be crucial in assessing and implementing international standards concerning the exchange of information in tax matters was also discussed during the meeting. Switzerland and Singapore are on the OECD's grey list. Both countries agreed that in the exchange of international information in tax matters, transparency, fairness and the same terms for all countries involved must be sought. However, the automatic exchange of information would not be up for discussion.
In addition, measures to combat the global financial crisis were discussed by the finance ministers. They agreed that public support for the financial sector should be undertaken by means of an internationally coordinated strategy.