The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced today that the sixteen (16) new bilateral agreements on exchange of information for tax purposes signed this week between OECD countries and the British Virgin Islands, Guernsey and Jersey mark an important step forward in efforts to bring greater transparency to cross-border financial transactions.

The British Virgin Islands signed bilateral tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) with Australia and the United Kingdom, while Guernsey and Jersey each signed bilateral TIEAs with the Nordic economies of Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

The OECD says its member countries have been working with financial centres around the world since 2000 to bring greater transparency and accountability to cross-border transactions. These new agreements bring to 44 the number of arrangements put in place since 2000. The latest agreements represent a significant extension of information exchange networks in place in these jurisdictions, showing their commitment to implementing OECD’s standards of transparency and exchange of information in tax matters.

The OECD points out that the fight tax evasion and efforts to bring increased transparency to cross-border transactions remain at the forefront of its work. * “At a time when governments are seeking to forge a more stable world financial system, these are issues that need to be addressed with urgency,”* OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said.

He continued, * “The political climate is changing, and financial centres that do not respect the OECD standards will not be allowed to gain a competitive advantage. Every new bilateral agreement demonstrates that we can make progress internationally. It is in the interest of all financial centres to have adequate measures in favour of full transparency as quickly as possible.”*