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Offshore Jurisdictions Respond Warmly To O'Neill Statement on OECD

by Jason Gorringe,, London

14 May 2001

The London-based International Tax and Investment Organisation (ITIO), which was set up in March 2001 to help small and developing economies respond to global tax and investment challenges, has welcomed US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's anti-OECD statement last week.

Following a scheduled meeting of ITIO in London on 9th -11th May, which comprises twelve small and developing economies, Lynette Eastmond, Director of the ITIO Secretariat, said:

"We are encouraged by the statement from United States Treasury Secretary O'Neill on the OECD's 'harmful tax competition initiative'. In particular, we support the strong position taken by the U.S. Government against criminal tax evasion.

"Like the US, we believe in rules that do not stifle competition.

"We also share Secretary O'Neill's concern about potentially unfair treatment of non-OECD countries. We believe that all countries, OECD and non-OECD alike, should play by the same rules, and that standards should be developed in a truly inclusive international forum that involves everyone.

"We hope and expect that the refocusing of the OECD process will lead to the involvement by right of ITIO members and other small and developing economies as equal participants in setting any new international taxation standards."

The ITIO grew out of the work of the OECD-Commonwealth Joint Working Group on Harmful Tax Competition, itself spawned by the highly unsatisfactory multilateral meetings held in the early months of 2001 between the OECD and groups of offshore jurisdictions which had been included on the OECD's blacklist in 2000.

The ITIO currently comprises twelve members: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Malaysia, St Kitts & Nevis, Turks & Caicos and Vanuatu. The Commonwealth Secretariat, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and CARICOM Secretariat have observer status.

The ITIO will also work on other international challenges to small and developing economies (SDEs) - for example, on e-commerce and on inward investment incentives - which need to be addressed from a global perspective. These matters have the potential significantly to damage SDEs' economies. They are not just technical issues.

For further information, please contact Ben Coleman in the United Kingdom on tel. + (44) (0) 7958 616 444, email


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