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Bern, Press release, 26.05.2010

The Headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva are being enlarged. The third and last phase of this expansion necessitates a loan of CHF 40 million as well as a non-repayable CHF 10 million contribution. Today, the Federal Council approved the relevant draft bill for submission to Parliament. The bill establishes the financial framework for the extra-muros expansion of the Centre William Rappard (CWR) outside its current footprint.

In 2008, the WTO and Switzerland formally came to an agreement on the renovation, capacity improvement, and enlargement of the WTO Headquarters’ Centre William Rappard (CWR) building in Geneva. Accordingly, the activities of the WTO are to be brought together step-by-step under one roof on a “single site” within the end of 2012. This is meant to enable the WTO to cope with the long-term growth in the number of its personnel.  

This third and last phase of the single-site project entails an enlargement of the CWR with the construction of a new annex designed to provide office space to accommodate 300 staff members, as well as to house the document-printing office, the IT center, the library, and a new cafeteria. Furthermore, the construction of an underground car park with 200 spaces is also contained in the plans. All construction and architectural measures have been checked and optimized in terms of sustainability and environmental friendliness. Construction work for this last phase is scheduled to be concluded by the end of 2012. 

The project is to be financed within the scope of Switzerland’s host-state policy by a non-repayable contribution in the amount of CHF 10 million along with an interest-free loan of CHF 40 million to the Building Foundation for International Organizations (FIPOI). The FIPOI, as owner of the building, will flank the WTO by providing advice and expertise. The Confederation’s loan is repayable within a period of 50 years.  

The Federal Council’s draft bill submitted to parliament today is closely linked to the first two phases of the WTO extension project, for which the Federal Assembly has already approved a CHF 45 million non-repayable contribution as well as a CHF 20 million loan.  

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