The Washington, DC-based Center for Freedom and Prosperity (CF&P) announced today that it will host a Tax Competition Conference in Ottawa on Monday, October 13th. The one-day event is scheduled to coincide with the OECD’s Global Forum on International Tax Policy that starts in Ottawa the next day.
According to a release from CF&P, this will be its fifth forum in recent months designed to discuss the virtues of tax competition and the *”folly of European- instigated tax harmonization policies.”*
Reportedly, the October 13th event will give non-OECD policy makers useful information as they prepare to meet with the OECD. CF&P will bring together leading international tax experts to discuss how best to preserve tax competition, financial privacy, and fiscal sovereignty. The OECD will be invited to participate.
The OECD has convened the Global Forum to discuss “level playing field” issues. The International Trade and Investment Organisation (ITIO) has been calling for ‘a strictly focused meeting of the Global Tax Forum’ to discuss the erosion of the level playing field concept with regard to the OECD’s harmful tax competition initiative.
International Tax Lawyer Richard Hay of Stikeman Elliott, LLP in a presentation to BFSB mid year, said *”Establishment of a level playing field requires that all affected countries make identical, specifically enumerated commitments to change regulations in a functionally equivalent manner, on the same timetable and subject to the same consequences for non-performance. The OECD risked, and damaged, its own credibility in demanding commitments from outsiders while it lacked similar commitments from key members of its own group.”*
Members of the ITIO and other affected jurisdictions also are proposing to meet immediately before the OECD’s Global Forum to discuss a common approach as well as “tactics/strategies” for the meeting.
The ITIO was established in March 2001 as a forum in which small and developing economies (SDEs) would work on an equal basis and speak with a common voice. The ITIO aims to help members contribute more effectively to the ongoing debate on international tax and investment measures and ensure that development implications are taken into account.
The ITIO’s founders were the non-OECD members of the OECD-Commonwealth Joint Working Group on Harmful Tax Competition, whose experiences convinced them of the need for a new, inclusive organisation.
Members currently comprise Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Malaysia, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, Turks & Caicos Islands and Vanuatu. The Commonwealth Secretariat, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, CARICOM Secretariat and Caribbean Development Bank and Eastern Caribbean Development Bank have been granted formal observer status.