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Channel Islands Hold First Joint Ministerial Summit

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

09 August 2012


The governments of the Channel Islands, Guernsey and Jersey, have held their first joint ministerial meeting, held to discuss areas where the two territories can cooperate more deeply.

According to a statement from the Jersey government following the meeting, discussions in particular focused on aligning the islands' policies in respect of the territories' relationship with the United Kingdom, which has been under substantial strain following a number of tax spats, and also included discussions on the islands' relations with France and Europe. Both Ministers agreed that continued government support for the Channel Islands' Brussels Office is critical. The Office was established in 2011 in response to changing international tax transparency requirements; new regulation facing international financial centres; and European scrutiny of the islands' tax regimes, with the aim of enhancing representation of the islands' interests in international fora.

Commenting following the July 31, 2012, meeting, Guernsey's Chief Minister, Peter Harwood stated: “Today’s meeting was constructive and productive; these discussions will enable our islands to take a more strategic approach to common external engagement. The benefits of working together in our engagement with the wider world are clear, in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness."

“Today’s discussions are only one aspect of the stronger working relationship that is being established between Guernsey and Jersey. I am delighted that Policy Council members and departmental boards are meeting, speaking and working with their counterparts in Jersey to find areas where working together can lead to clear mutual benefits.”

Jersey's Chief Minister, Ian Gorst added: “Today’s meeting has allowed us to develop further our common priorities. By working more closely together we can make our case more effectively to the international community and ensure that the benefits of cooperative working make a difference to our own communities."

“There is much common ground between [Jersey's] Council of Ministers and Guernsey’s Policy Council. Today’s joint summit meeting has found new ways of exploiting that commonality to our mutual advantage. I am pleased to say that today’s talks have been productive and I very much hope that future meetings will maintain the positive dialogue that we enjoy with Deputy Harwood and his ministerial colleagues.”

The first joint ministerial meeting was held following an agreement in May 2012 between the two ministers to update the framework for cooperation between the two territories. The Ministers agreed that the jurisdictions could benefit from more closely coordinating their activities, and sharing resources. Meetings are expected to be held biannually, alternately hosted by each island. The next meeting, scheduled to take place in Jersey in late 2012, will focus on the potential for greater sharing of public services between the islands.

TAGS: tax | investment | business | interest | fiscal policy | law | banking | international financial centres (IFC) | Guernsey | Jersey | United Kingdom | offshore | offshore banking | tax reform | regulation | services | business investment

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