ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss government will seek public consultations on a draft treaty setting out ties with the European Union, it said, ignoring an ultimatum from Switzerland's biggest trading partner to sign off by Friday or face punishment.
The cabinet said in a statement ahead of a news conference it simply "took note" of the daft pact, giving no opinion whether it supported the accord that has been negotiated for more than four years and that Brussels has sought for a decade.
EU sources have said Brussels will ban EU-based banks and brokers from trading on Swiss stock exchanges beyond the end of 2018 as a punitive measure should Bern not clearly back the deal by Friday. That would prompt Swiss retaliation.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by John Revill)