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Content - Swiss-Japanese cooperation in financial technology

  • April 10, 2018

Swiss-Japanese cooperation in financial technology

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – The finance ministers of Switzerland and Japan, Ueli Maurer and Taro Aso, have discussed bilateral and multilateral financial issues during their meeting in Tokyo. One focus of the visit of the Swiss finance minister was the latest development in the area of financial technology, commonly abbreviated as fintech. The two countries agreed to exchange more information in this field. Swiss Federal President Alain Berset is also scheduled to travel to Tokyo. He intends to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday this week and to attend the Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety.

Bridge in Swiss capital Berne

Working visit to Tokyo

When Federal Councillor Maurer paid a working visit to Japan's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Taro Aso, the two ministers talked about the global economic outlook and developments in Asia and Europe, as well as the Japanese G20 presidency next year. Maurer presented Switzerland's participation to date in the G20 Finance Track. Switzerland is not a member of the G20 group but follows its informal decision in the areas of finance. 

Maurer also met Haruhiko Kuroda, Governor of the Bank of Japan, and Nobuchika Mori, Commissioner of Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA). Maurer’s working visit to Japan is part of his efforts to maintain regular and personal relations with important international partners. 

The politician, born 1950, has been a Federal Councillor since 2009. He has headed the Federal Department of Finance since 2016. Prior to that, he headed the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport. In the year 2013, he was also the President of the Swiss Confederation. In Tokyo he was accompanied by State Secretary Jörg Gasser.

Japan's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer (© Embassy of Switzerland in Japan, click to enlarge)

Japan's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer (© Embassy of Switzerland in Japan, click to enlarge)

Fintech cooperation agreement 

FSA head Mori and Thomas Bauer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), signed an agreement to promote cooperation in the area of fintech. The agreement is supposed to help the Swiss authority expand its fintech network in Asia.  

Japan and Switzerland are both leading countries in the new realm of cryptocurrencies: The world’s largest trading platform for bitcoins is the Japanese dealer BitFlyer, whereas Switzerland even boasts a “Crypto Valley” in the canton of Zug and has seen a number of initial coin offerings (SCCIJ reported earlier).

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) exchanged the Letters for Cooperation Framework on FinTech with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) on April 4, 2018 (© Japan Financial Services Agency, click to enlarge)

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) exchanged the Letters for Cooperation Framework on FinTech with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) on April 4, 2018 (© Japan Financial Services Agency, click to enlarge)

Asian partnerships

The agreement is but the latest Asian pact for the Swiss financial regulator, which signed a cooperation agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in September 2016. Most recently, FINMA agreed with Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) on a framework for cooperation on financial technology. 

The Swiss-Japanese cooperation framework (PDF) recognizes the global nature of innovation in financial services. It will see FSA and Finma cooperate to share information on fintech trends, developments and related regulatory issues as well as on organizations which promote innovation in financial services. 

Visit of Swiss Federal President

Swiss Federal President Alain Berset is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday. In addition, a meeting is planned with health, labour and welfare minister, Katsunobu Kato, the host of the 3rd Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety.

The aim of the series of summits launched in London in 2016 is to raise awareness for patient safety at all levels of the health sector and in health policy. On the fringes of the Tokyo summit, the themes of which will include patient safety in an ageing society, Mr Berset will meet with counterparts from other countries. The program includes a number of events which underline the close economic and cultural ties between Switzerland and Japan.

Relations between the two countries are excellent in all respects and have been for many years. In 2014 Switzerland and Japan celebrated the 150th anniversary of official bilateral relations. Japan is Switzerland's second largest trade partner in Asia and a free trade agreement has been in force since 2009. Japan is also a priority country for bilateral research cooperation. 

 

Text: SCCIJ with material of EDA and JFSA; Top photo: Berne (via Pixabay/xmax88 CC0)

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