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Twelve territories have newly signed, or committed to sign, the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, while another six countries have deposited their instruments of ratification, at a ceremony at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Austria, Belize, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the Slovak Republic inked the agreement. Burkina Faso, Chile and El Salvador signed a letter of intention to sign the Convention; and Belize, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, Malta, and the Netherlands, including its Caribbean islands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba), and Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten completed their domestic ratification procedures.
"This is a historic moment for the Convention and another winning round in the fight against tax cheats," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria during the signing ceremony. "In the past two years more than 60 countries have signed the Convention or stated their intention to do so, marking an important milestone on the road to closer cooperation and more transparency, towards making the international system fair to all taxpayers."
Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Tharman Shanmugaratnam said: "Signing the Convention reflects Singapore’s commitment to tax cooperation based on international standards, but the standards can only work if all financial centers come on board. Singapore will work with our international partners to achieve that, so that Switzerland, Luxembourg, Singapore, Hong Kong and offshore jurisdictions like the British Overseas Territories move together."
The G20 has consistently supported the Convention. At their last meeting G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors stated: "In view of the next G20 Summit, we also strongly encourage all jurisdictions to sign or express interest in signing the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and call on the OECD to report on progress."
The OECD highlighted that the Convention complements other initiatives, to foster the adoption of a standardized model for multilateral information exchange, as well as efforts in the European Union to improve automatic information exchange. The Convention itself provides for spontaneous exchange of information, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in tax collection.
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