The Netherlands Antilles has signed bilateral agreements with **Australia** and with **New Zealand** for the exchange of information for tax purposes. The agreements were signed on behalf of their respective countries by Mr. Alex Rosaria, State Secretary of Finance of the Netherlands Antilles, Mr. Peter Dutton, Australian Minister for Revenue & Assistant Treasurer, and Mr. John Larkindale, New Zealand High Commissioner.

Mr. Rosaria said, *”With the signing of these tax information agreements we have made another step forward in our joint efforts to implement the principles of transparency and our commitment to high international standards regarding the global financial markets. These tax information agreements are important instruments to counter the abuse of the financial system such as tax fraud, money laundering and the financing of terrorism.”* Next month Mr. Rosaria hopes that the Netherlands Antilles can sign a tax information agreement with Spain.

**Regional Outreach**

Last October, the Government of the Netherlands Antilles appointed a new task force charged with negotiating double taxation agreements (DTAs) with third countries. Headed by the State Secretary of Finance, the task force also has private sector representation through the Curacao International Financial Association (CIFA). At that time, Mr. Rosaria said, * “Curacao has since 1939 become one of the preferred locations in the Caribbean for international financial transactions and tax planning. In the following years we want to belong to the world’s top five financial centers.”*

Negotiations regarding a DTA between the Netherlands Antilles and Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago are currently under way, and earlier this year, Caribbean Net News reported that the State Secretary of Finance had sent a diplomatic note to the Jamaican authorities, conveying the wish of his government to start negotiations with Jamaica regarding a Double Taxation Agreement.

**Global Forum**

A released today from the OECD noted that the signing of the agreements by the Netherlands Antiles marks further progress in international efforts to implement the principles of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes as developed by its **Global Forum on Taxation.**

The Netherlands Antilles was an early participant in the OECD’s initiative to improve transparency and exchange of information in tax matters, and today’s release noted that since 2000, it has worked with OECD countries to develop these principles and implement measures to support them. The Netherlands Antilles participated in the drafting of the OECD’s Model Agreement on Exchange of Information in Tax Matters, published in 2002.

The Chairman of the OECD’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs and Co-Chair of the Global Forum, Paolo Ciocca welcomed the agreements as further evidence of commitment to greater transparency and international co-operation in tax matters.

This is the second such agreement signed by Australia within the last few weeks and the first for New Zealand. Mr. Ciocca said, * I trust that the year ahead will see an intensification of co-operative efforts by other countries to conclude their own negotiations for similar agreements. It is clear that we have moved to of a new phase in our work in which the principles, that we have devoted so much effort to developing, become part of actual agreements between countries.”*

Under the auspices of the Global Forum on Taxation a total of 33 jurisdictions have committed to work with OECD countries to improve transparency and to establish effective information exchange for tax purposes. The OECD reports that many other countries and international organizations also have endorsed these principles, and that current efforts are aimed at encouraging all countries to work towards the achievement of a global level playing by implementing high standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.

The OECD’s “Tax Co-operation: Towards a Level Playing Field – 2006 Assessment by the Global Forum on Taxation” reported on the progress made in implementing identified transparency and exchange of information standards.