The International Tax and Investment Organisation (ITIO), a grouping of thirteen small and developing states, has welcomed Commonwealth Finance Ministers’ support for developing countries to participate more fully in international financial institutions.

The organisation has also welcomed the Ministers’ commitment at their meeting in London last week to developing new financial codes and standards on a transparent and universal basis.

The ITIO is now urging the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to adopt a similar approach in its latest initiative against corporate crime. At the moment, the OECD is targeting small states while overlooking or excusing problems within its own member countries.

In a major new report, the ITIO argues that, to be effective, the OECD needs to address the illicit use of corporate vehicles on the basis of a level playing field; and that new policy and rules should be developed in a truly universal forum, involving all countries on an equal basis.

*”It is heartening to see these principles of inclusiveness and universality embraced by the Commonwealth”,* said ITIO Director Lynette Eastmond, *”We would urge the OECD to adopt the same approach.”*

The new report, Towards a Level Playing Field, undertaken by international law firm Stikeman Elliott for the ITIO and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), provides a first-ever, transparent comparison of corporate regulation in fifteen OECD and non-OECD countries. (see related news article)

It reveals that, while arguing for tighter regulation in small countries, the OECD is excusing large OECD corporate domiciles such as Delaware and Nevada in the USA from compliance with new rules to regulate service providers and track beneficial ownership.

Commenting on Towards a Level Playing Field, Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados, said, *”OECD members should recognise that the problem of international corporate crime needs to be addressed in all countries, including themselves. As this report shows, times have changed and many small and developing countries are very well regulated.”*

Colin Sharp, Worldwide Chairman of STEP, added, *”International crime is a global problem which requires global solutions. The OECD’s partial approach will only achieve partial results and business will flow from well regulated centres to less stringent ones.”*

Richard Hay, who headed Stikeman Elliott’s report team, explained, *”The study shows that OECD countries must focus on implementing their ideas at home to catch up with developments in non-member states.”*