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Representatives from over 70 jurisdictions and international organisations met in Mexico on 1-2 September 2009 to decide next steps in a global campaign to improve transparency and exchange of banking, ownership and other information for tax purposes. The questions and answers below provide useful information about the meeting and the work of the Global Forum.
What is the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information?
The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information brings together jurisdictions, both OECD and non-OECD, that have made commitments to transparency and exchange of information and have worked together to develop the international standards for transparency and exchange of information in tax matters. A major achievement of this collaboration was the 2002 Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters. Since 2006, the Global Forum has published annual assessments of the legal and administrative frameworks for transparency and exchange of information in more than 80 countries.
What was this meeting about?
Since the beginning of 2009, tax evasion and the implementation of the internationally agreed tax standards on transparency and exchange of information have been high on the international political agenda. On 1-2 September 2009, the Global Forum met in Mexico to discuss how to respond to the changing environment and the demands of the international community that all countries should fully implement the internationally agreed standards without further delay. The meeting coincided with the publication of the Global Forum’s annual report, Tax Cooperation 2009: Towards a Level Playing Field – 2009 Assessment by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information .
Why have the meeting now?
The work to improve transparency and exchange of information has received crucial support from the leaders of the G20 and the G8. Following the G20 meeting and communiqué in April 2009, the OECD Secretariat provided a detailed implementation of an internationally agreed standard on exchange of information for tax purposes by financial centres around the world towards implementation of an internationally agreed standard on exchange of information for tax purposes. It now seems appropriate that a robust peer review mechanism should be put in place under the umbrella of a restructured Global Forum, to give firm foundation to this progress and ensure effective implementation of the standards. Before the September G20 meetings (Finance Ministers on 4-5 September and Leaders on 23-24 September) the Global Forum needs to discuss how to respond to the demands of the international community.
Who was invited to the Global Forum meeting and who attended?
All jurisdictions currently included in the Global Forum’s annual assessment process were invited, as well as all G20 countries and emerging financial centres. In addition, a number of international organisations were invited including the EC, FATF, IMF, and the World Bank. Around 70 jurisdictions were represented at the meeting, many at Ministerial or Commissioner level.
What was discussed at the meeting?
Proposals were discussed that are designed to strengthen the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information by:
restructuring the Global Forum and making it even more inclusive;
establishing a robust peer review mechanism;
monitoring the implementation of the agreed tax standards;
expanding the jurisdictions participating in the Global Forum, including developing countries;
speeding up the process of negotiating Tax Information Exchange Agreements and Tax Treaties, including developing multilateral instruments.
Download a Summary of outcomes of the meeting.
This was the first Global Forum meeting since 2005.
Does the Global Forum plan on meeting more regularly in the future?
Yes. It is anticipated that the Global Forum will meet annually on a plenary basis, as well as having more frequent meetings of its subsidiary bodies.