Singapore today signed a protocol with France that brings the two countries’ bilateral tax treaty into line with the OECD standard on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. The agreement moved Singapore into the category of jurisdictions deemed to have substantially implemented the standard; it is the 15th jurisdiction to have moved into the *“substantially implemented”* category since April 2009.
Singapore’s Minister for Finance Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam signed the protocol with French Minister for the Economy, Industry and Employment Ms. Christine Lagarde during her visit to Singapore today.
*“I am pleased that we are enhancing our tax co-operation with France, a major economic partner for Singapore. We will not stop at 12 agreements. We expect to sign several more by the end of the year, and will continue to renegotiate such DTAs. Parliament has also approved the legislative changes to implement the Standard. Singapore will be playing an active role in the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information, and we are pleased to have been recently appointed as the Vice Chairman of the Global Forum’s Peer Review Group. Like Singapore’s high ratings by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for its role in the global anti-money laundering effort, these recent steps are consistent with our role as a responsible and well-regulated financial jurisdiction,”* Minister Tharman said.
In turn, Minister Lagarde remarked, *“I am particularly pleased to sign today the 12th protocol which allows the withdrawing of Singapore from the OECD grey list. It is a significant breakthrough to see such an important financial place reaching the OECD white list. I hope that after this agreement, our two countries will continue to enhance their financial and economic cooperation in order to build a bridge between Europe and Asia and to strengthen their economic and financial links.”*
The French Minister continued, *“I am also delighted to note that this signature is an important step in the willingness of Singapore to participate more directly in the improvement of the global financial rules. In addition, I would like to assure the Singaporean authorities of the French support to succeed in their function of Vice Chairman of the Global Forum’s Peer Review Group.”*
Welcoming Singapore’s commitment to the OECD standard, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said that this marked a major step forward in international tax cooperation. *“Singapore is a key player in the global financial community,”* he said. “*The fact that Singapore has removed the legislative impediments to its implementation of the international standard is very welcome and it confirms that there is a new global environment of tax cooperation. No jurisdiction can stand apart from this movement towards greater transparency for tax purposes.”*