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Britain Still Holding The Line Against EU Withholding Tax

Tax-news.com

15 November 1999


Britain last week stood firm against the proposed European withholding tax at a meeting in Brussels where paymaster general Dawn Primarolo pushed the UK's case. The UK is insisting that international bonds be exempted from the proposed 20% EU withholding tax on savings instruments. The UK's opposition to the withholding tax stems from fears that such a tax would have a disastrous effect on London's lucrative bond markets. The French and German finance ministers, who are keen supporters of the tax, have attacked the UK position citing it as another example of a 'two speed Europe.' The Finnish finance minister, Sauli Niinisto, who chaired the meeting, said he is planning to visit London for further talks before the next EU finance ministers' meeting later this month, which will be the last major chance for a resolution of the problem before the Helsinki Summit in December. Mr Niinisto said that 13 nations were ready to agree on the issue, with only Britain and Luxembourg holding out - and Britain was being the most obstructive.

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