Today Treasury Secretary Snow signed a new agreement with the Kingdom of the Netherlands that will allow for exchange of information on tax matters between the United States and Aruba. The agreement was signed by Treasury Secretary John Snow and Prime Minister Nelson Oduber of Aruba.

At the signing ceremony, Treasury Secretary Snow said, *”The United States and Aruba have developed a close and cooperative relationship on law enforcement matters. We greatly value this cooperation, particularly now as we continue to work to ensure that no safe haven exists anywhere in the world for the funds associated with illicit activities, including terrorism, money laundering, and tax evasion.”*

The Secretary pointed out that the United States has an obligation to enforce its tax laws, because failing to do so undermines the confidence of honest taxpayers in the fairness of the U.S. tax system. *”Access to needed information is vital to our efforts to ensure full and fair enforcement of our civil and criminal laws.”* He further said that Aruba and the U.S. share the common goals of upholding international standards and ensuring that their financial institutions are not used to further illicit activities of any kind.

Mr. Snow concluded with assurances that the U.S. will continue to work vigorously to extend its network of exchange of information agreements to cover additional financial centres throughout the world and to improve its existing information exchange relationships.

**Background Information**

In the last two years, the United States has negotiated and concluded important new tax information agreements with eight significant offshore financial centers: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, and the Netherlands Antilles. Each of these agreements reflects the international standards for tax information exchange that the United States has been a leader in establishing.

In January 2003, the United States entered into a Mutual Agreement with Switzerland under the current U.S.-Swiss Income Tax Convention that is intended to facilitate more effective tax information exchange between the two countries. At the same time, the two governments agreed that more must be done to bring the U.S.-Swiss tax information exchange relationship up to international standards.