Switzerland's economy minister said she hoped parliament would not link a deal between UBS and the United States on disclosing secret bank accounts with questions such as bankers' bonuses, a paper reported on Sunday.
Doris Leuthard, who is also president, said parliament's failure to approve the agreement on disclosing 4,450 accounts U.S. citizens used to hide money from tax authorities would sour relations between the two countries, the newspaper Sonntag reported.
I hope that parliament distinguishes between the agreement and open questions such as 'too big to fail' and regulating bonuses, she said. The government wants to solve these problems, but it's not possible to link them all.
The deal hit a stumbling block after a Swiss court ruled in January that such a transfer of data would breach existing law, and the government suggested parliament approve the agreement retroactively to solve the dilemma.
The right-wing SVP party, which holds the largest proportion of seats in parliament's lower house, is against the deal, while the social democrats want it linked to questions such as bonuses.
We and also UBS would have problems, if more legal cases arose, Leuthard said.
The government will discuss the UBS deal and an interim report on banks that are too big to fail at its meeting on Wednesday.
She told the Sonntag that she thought banks needed stricter capital adequacy and liquidity rules.
Leuthard also said she hopes the euro does not fall further against the Swiss franc and that she is keen to conclude free trade agreements with India and Ukraine, among other states.
Because other (euro-zone) members have high levels of debt I hope that the euro doesn't weaken further, Leuthard said. That would be dangerous for our export industry.
Despite the Swiss National Bank's policy of fighting an excessive appreciation in the Swiss franc against the euro, the Alpine unit has gained more than 5 percent against the common currency since December, in part due to market worries about ballooning debts in Greece and other southern European countries.
Leuthard said Europe accounted for about 70 percent of Swiss exports and that to take advantage of emerging markets, Switzerland needed to clinch trade deals with the rest of the world faster than the European Union.
We're hoping for progress in 2010 with several countries, such as India and Ukraine, she said. With Russia and China I hope to open negotiations. Thailand and Indonesia are also on the list. (Reporting by Catherine Bosley; Editing by Louise Heavens)