May 24, 2013
Clark Gascoigne, +1 202 293 0740 ext. 222
E.J. Fagan, +1 202 293 0740 ext. 227
GFI Urges Them to Include Developing Countries for Truly Global Policies
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) commended the European Council—the group of heads of government for all twenty-seven countries in the European Union— for the leadership it demonstrated in its May 22nd meeting on critical issues of financial transparency. The minutes of that meeting (PDF) show the following commitments, commitments that take us a significant step closer to achieving GFI’s goals of curtailing illicit financial flows:
- Extending automatic exchange of tax information at the EU and global levels;
- Promoting automatic exchange of tax information as the new international standard;
- Carrying forward work on aggressive tax planning and profit shifting;
- Globalizing efforts to tackle the lack of financial transparency, harmful tax measures, base erosion and profit shifting;
- Ensuring that third countries, including developing countries, are able to meet standards of good governance in tax matters;
- Amending EU Directives to ensure that large companies and corporate groups report key financial information on a country by country basis; and
- Noting that identification of beneficial ownership of companies, trusts and foundations is essential.
The agreement comes on the heels of the announcement that several EU member countries are already proceeding with a “pilot project” of automatic exchange and Prime Minister David Cameron’s declaration that the G8 will discuss automatic exchange at its June summit.
“The European Council’s commitments reflect the new Western consensus on the critical importance of greater transparency in the world’s financial system, and we are extremely pleased to witness this positive development, but there is an acute need for any new measures in this area to benefit developing countries,” said Heather Lowe, GFI’s Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs.
Global Financial Integrity estimates that the lack of transparency in the international financial system drains roughly $1 trillion each year from developing and emerging economies.
“Work that will be done to address corporate profit shifting, such as the tactics Apple, Google and others have been lambasted by politicians for using, must consider much more than the impact on America and European countries,” stated Ms. Lowe. “As reports by ActionAid and others have made clear, profit shifting has a devastating effect on developing country economies. They cannot be left out of this discussion and these initiatives.”
GFI calls on the EU Governments to ensure that their development agencies and ministries are integrally involved with the development of policy and process on financial transparency issues, and that developing country governments have the opportunity to engage in the development of these principles and the multilateral measures and frameworks that will result to make them truly global.
Ms. Lowe concluded by stating that “This is the time for governments to grasp the relationship between the causes of their own financial situations and the struggles of developing countries, and to ensure that actions and policies moving forward benefit all peoples.”
Notes to Editors:
- To schedule an interview with Ms. Lowe or other GFI spokespersons, contact Clark Gascoigne at +1 202 293 0740, ext. 222 / [email protected] On-camera spokespersons are available in Washington, DC.
- Click here to read the conclusions reached by the European Council at its Wednesday summit.
- Click here to read the Resolution adopted by the European Parliament Tuesday on Tax Fraud, Tax Evasion, and Tax Havens.
- Click here for more information from GFI on last month’s announcement from the Governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK about the pilot program to automatically exchange tax information multilaterally.
- Click here for the press release from HM Treasury announcing that the British Overseas Territories would be joining the pilot program for multilateral automatic exchange of tax information (May 2, 2013).
- Click here for more on the Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium, Romania, and the Netherlands joining in the pilot program for multilateral automatic exchange of tax information (The New York Times, April 15, 2013).
- Click here for more information from GFI on the G20 Finance Minister’s communiqué.
- For reports from ActionAid on aggressive tax avoidance, click here (PDF) and click here (PDF).
+1 202-293-0740 ext.222
+1 202-293-0740 ext.227
Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization which promotes transparency in the international financial system as a means to global development.
For additional information please visit www.gfintegrity.org.