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Last Friday, the Institute of Economic Studies at the University of Iceland, in cooperation with the International Policy Network invited a group of distinguished economists, lawyers and public policy analysts to an international conference in Iceland to examine the idea that Iceland might become a tax haven.
Said the organisers: 'Some small countries with stable political and monetary arrangements have become quite wealthy by offering a business-friendly environment and low tax rates to individuals and corporations: Switzerland, Luxembourg, the two Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, to name a few. Recently, Ireland has joined their rank with great success. But international organisations have criticized those countries and proposed "tax harmonisation" instead of "tax competition". Some countries have even been threatened with being blacklisted, because they insist on maintaining financial privacy in banking.
'While Iceland is not a member of the EU, she has access to the common European market through the EEA (European Economic Area) agreement. She is also protected by a defence agreement with the US. Iceland - with her stable political situation, a location in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, daily flights to the major financial centres of the World, sophisticated telecommunications system, well-educated population and well-developed financial sector - may at present have a unique opportunity to join countries which offer low tax rates to individuals and corporations.'
Speakers at the conference included Prime Minister of Iceland David Oddsson, Dr Roger Bate from the Institute of Economic Affairs, London, Dr Victoria Curzon-Price from the University of Geneva, author Marshall J. Langer, and Dr Daniel Mitchell, McKenna senior fellow in political economy at The Heritage Foundation, Washington DC.
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