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Swiss-US meeting focuses on vocational education and jobs


Schneider-Ammann (picture from a news conference in Bern) visited four countries over the past nine days (Keystone)

Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann on Tuesday expressed satisfaction with his two days of meetings with senior Trump administration officials, capping efforts to boost cooperation between Switzerland and the United States on education, jobs and trade.

He also invited Ivanka Trump,  the daughter and adviser to US President Donald Trump, and other Trump administration officials to visit Switzerland so that they can “explore ways of strengthening collaboration,” Schneider-Ammann’s ministry said in a statement on Tuesday night.

It was the last stop on Schneider-Ammann’s trip abroad that included visits in Russia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, where he focused on trade relations but also raised political and human rights issues.

In the statement, his department said he “highlighted the strong growth in trade and investment, the jobs created by Swiss firms and their high level of spending on research in the United States. The meeting also covered the possibility of strengthening existing ties and the importance of vocational education and training.”

In his meetings with US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and US Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, he “reviewed the progress made on bilateral cooperation on vocational education and training under the declaration of intent signed in 2015.”

Schneider-Ammann said he also met members of Congress and representatives from Swiss businesses based in the US.

The United States is Switzerland’s second largest trade partner, after Germany. Bilateral trade comes to CHF60 billion; Switzerland exports CHF36.4 billion to the US and imports CHF23.6 billion from the US. Swiss direct investment in the US comes to CHF205 billion and Swiss companies generate 500,000 US jobs, the Swiss government says.

After his meeting with Ivanka Trump, the economic minister tweeted a photo of the two of them together and said that the “US committed to build up vocational education and training. Switzerland ready to support.”

Schneider-Ammann said in his statement that during his meeting with Ivanka Trump he was “able to familiarise the White House with Switzerland’s system of vocational education and training. Expanding apprenticeships and vocational training is a priority of the Trump administration.”

Schneider Ammann with Ivanka Trump

He also tweeted that he had an “excellent exchange” with Ross. “Switzerland’s contribution to the US economy pointed out: half a million jobs!” Schneider-Ammann said.

Schneider-Ammann had told Swiss newspaper Le Matin Dimanche that Ivanka Trump plays an important role in the Trump administration and the meeting would contribute to strong Swiss-US relations. and agencies/jmh


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