During its meeting of May 9, 2018, the Swiss Federal Council adopted a dispatch on approving the agreements on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI) with Singapore and Hong Kong. In the same dispatch the Swiss Federal Council is proposing the introduction of the AEOI with other financial centres to Parliament.
In October 2017, the Swiss Federal Council decided to apply the agreements with Singapore and Hong Kong provisionally as per January 1, 2018 and to exchange account information with these countries for the first time in autumn 2019. This was the only way to ensure that the schedule could be met. With the current proposal, the Federal Council is now requesting Parliament's authorisation to ratify the two agreements. At the same time, the Federal Council is proposing the option of implementing the AEOI with Singapore and Hong Kong based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement; MCAA). This solution takes account of the latest developments in Singapore and Hong Kong and would allow the implementation of the AEOI on a multilateral basis.
In a press release issued in this respect the Swiss Federal Council states that it is also important for the Swiss financial sector that the AEOI be introduced with all competing financial centres, thereby ensuring a level playing field worldwide. The Swiss Federal Council is thus proposing to activate the AEOI with other financial centres on a multilateral basis (MCAA) from 2019 on. The first sets of data should be exchanged from 2020.
According to the Swiss Federal Council the vast majority of the financial centres with which the Federal Council wishes to introduce the AEOI apply the AEOI in a non-reciprocal manner (Anguilla, Bahamas, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Nauru). These countries provide data, but refrain from data deliveries from their agreement partners.
The Swiss Federal Council furthermore states that AEOI is to be introduced on a reciprocal basis with Panama and with the Caribbean overseas communities of the Netherlands (Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba), which are not covered by the scope of the existing AEOI agreement with the EU.
The Swiss Federal Council furthermore states that it intends to apply the review mechanism adopted by Parliament in December 2017 by analogy to all of the new AEOI partner states mentioned above.
In this respect the Swiss Federal Council released the following documents:
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