The Head of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) met his counterparts in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Other meetings took place with representatives of the supervisory authorities and central banks, as well as private-sector players. These talks dealt with enhancing dialogue and cooperation in financial and tax matters with two important partner states of Switzerland in the Gulf region and bilateral and multilateral concerns regarding financial matters and concrete cooperation. Here in particular, the optimum framework for investments and financial services were broached, as were Swiss financial institutions' roles and opportunities locally and the implementation of global standards in financial matters.
On 18 February 2018 in Riyadh, Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer signed a double taxation agreement with Saudi Arabia. The visit to Saudi Arabia also made it possible to pave the way for financial dialogue between the two states. In the United Arab Emirates, the visit likewise served to intensify bilateral cooperation in financial and tax matters.
The exchange with state and private-sector players in both states took place in the context of Switzerland's financial market policy for a competitive Swiss financial centre. Both states are important target markets for Swiss financial service providers outside Europe. Swiss financial institutions have a strong presence in these markets. To improve the framework conditions, it is desirable to achieve a public image that is as consistent and effective as possible together with the sector. The delegation consisted of about a dozen Swiss financial institutions which are active in these markets.