Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered at the APEC Finance Ministers Meeting: Session 3, Fiscal and Taxation Policies and Reform for Economic Restructuring
22 October 2014, Beijing, PRC
(As prepared for delivery)
Ministers, Dear colleagues,
Transparency in tax is fundamental to healthy public finances and maintaining citizens’ trust in public and private institutions. And, I am pleased to say that we are making considerable progress at both the national and international levels.
At the national level, I would first like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Minister Lou Jiwei on passing an amendment to budgetary law that will see the entire budget published in a timely manner and be consistent across compiling agencies, thereby enhancing transparency.
At the international level, through the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project (BEPS), and our work to establish a single global standard for the automatic exchange of information, the OECD is reforming the international tax system which had not kept pace with changing times and in doing so, restoring integrity, coherence and effectiveness to it.
Last month, at the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Cairns, I delivered the first package of measures to address base erosion and profit shifting.
Family photo of the APEC 2014 Finance Minister's Meeting. Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, first from the right in the last row, Beijing, China. Photo: APEC
The fruit of this work will put an end to deficiencies which allow taxpayers to book profits in low or no tax jurisdictions, divorcing the location of profits from economic activities and value creation.
At the same time, we are heralding the agreement on the single common global standard for the automatic exchange of information. Already more than 60 countries have committed to implementation of the AEOI Standard, and 45 countries have agreed to a specific and ambitious timetable for early implementation that will see the first exchanges take place from 2017.
There are also important opportunities for APEC economies who are not members of the G20 to profit from the changing international tax environment for example by adhering to the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance for Tax Matters.
In addition, we have established a roadmap that will enable low incomes countries to benefit gradually from automatic exchange of tax information - factoring in their priorities and as well as their capacity constraints – constraints that we stand ready to address through such programs as the OECD’s Tax Inspectors Without Borders.
Thirty-seven billion euros have so far been identified from voluntary disclosure programmes targeting offshore evasion involving just 24 countries over 5 years. The momentum for tax compliance is taking hold. Many of you sitting around this table are responsible. Let’s keep the effort up!