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Cross-Border Taxation An Issue For The UN, Says Barbados PM

by Amanda Banks,, London

13 August 2007

There is a need for an agency to establish rules to govern cross border taxation issues, and given its mandate, the United Nations (UN) is perhaps best able to perform this role, according to the Prime Minister of Barbados, Owen Arthur.

This view was expressed by Arthur during a courtesy call from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, at the Barbados Government Headquarters on August 8.

Mr Arthur said that cross border taxation issues were becoming more important, and had increased validity as countries moved towards a global economy. He acknowledged the existence of a committee at the level of the UN, but argued that its work should now be at the level of an agency.

He pointed out that Barbados did not want to be used for tax evasion or money laundering, but wanted to participate in legitimate business with international corporations. He said the country was therefore keen to work with the UN on matters related to international corporations.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister also stressed the importance of middle income countries being recognised for their successes by the global community. He argued that whilst less developed countries must continue to be given attention, there was an “inefficient distortion” of the flow of resources, which needed to be re-examined.

Mr. Arthur therefore suggested that middle income countries should not be penalised for their achievements, but rather, they should be seen as ‘change champions’, and should be involved in strategic alliances, which would be enriching.

Secretary General Ban agreed with Prime Minister Arthur that countries like Barbados should be better recognised for their accomplishments. Noting that he was “fascinated” by the level of development which Barbados had achieved, he commended the country for its ability to overcome challenges such as extreme poverty.

Discussions also focused on the technical assistance that could be offered by the UN for the regional integration process, the need for a long-term approach by the international community to the challenges being faced by Haiti, and strategies to combat global warming.

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