US ratifies double-taxation deal with Switzerland

The United States Senate on Wednesday ratified a double-taxation agreement (DTA) with Switzerland, ending years of stalemate.

The agreement, which required two-thirds of votes, was accepted by a large majority, according to the US Senate websiteexternal link.

This accord, designed to meet international standards on the exchange of bank data, had been blocked for ten years by one US Senator. Rand Paul of the Republican Party fought against the DTA, which had already been signed in 2009, on grounds that it violated privacy. According to the Senate’s rules, an individual member of parliament can prevent a bill from being discussed by the entire House.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the Senate, found a loophole for the vote on Wednesday, according to Swiss television SRF.  The agreement makes it easier for the Americans to obtain information from the Swiss authorities if they suspect tax evasion.

On a visit to the US in April this year, Swiss President Ueli Mauer expressed optimism that the blockage would soon be lifted.

As well as the DTA with Switzerland, the US Senate on Wednesday also ratified agreements with Japan and Luxembourg, which had also been blocked for years. These agreements will promote trade with trading partners, attract foreign investors and combat tax evasion through the exchange of information, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden told Reuters.