The OECD signaled on Wednesday that Switzerland would soon be taken off a list of financial centers judged to fall short of international standards of cooperation in tax evasion inquiries due to bank secrecy rules.

On the eve of a meeting of G20 leaders who want to tighten the noose on offshore centers where bank secrecy has long been sacrosanct, the OECD, lead agency on the issue, said Switzerland was now on the verge of meeting a sufficient level of commitment to disclosure requirements.

Switzerland has signed a protocol to its tax treaty with the United States that incorporates the internationally agreed tax information standard, the Paris-based organization of which Switzerland is a member in a statement.

The OECD has also been informed that Switzerland will shortly sign another agreement. This will mark the 12th agreement conforming to the OECD standard and will mean that Switzerland joins the category of jurisdictions that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard, it said.

This is a very meaningful development and it shows that OECD countries are prepared to step up to the mark, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, attending a G20 summit that starts in Pittsburgh on Thursday, was quoted as saying.

Our congratulations to the Swiss authorities. Signing agreements is only one step in a process. What we will now be looking for effective implementation by all countries, the statement quoted him as saying.

(Reporting by Brian Love; Editing by Kenneth Barry)