Thank you for the invitation to join you today for this important discussion on international taxation, and in particular, to focus on the remaining tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of our economy.
We are about to make tax treaty history! Before you lies the first ever multilateral instrument capable of amending bilateral tax treaties: the Multilateral Convention on Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent BEPS. Tonight, more than 70 countries have come together to become Parties to the Convention, with more expected to follow in the coming months.
Welcome to the second meeting of the Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) Governing Board. I am pleased to be co-chairing today’s discussion with Mr. Michael O’Neill, UN Assistant Secretary General, and UNDP’s Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy. The OECD is honoured to partner with the UNDP on TIWB.
International tax matters remain an important priority as you work to ensure that the progress made in the last few years is embedded through coherent, global implementation. My report for this meeting provides you with the latest update on the work of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS, which now has over 90 members.
I am delighted to have this opportunity to discuss a topic that goes to the heart of the OECD’s mission, and to the heart of our collaboration with the Slovak Republic: improving tax fairness and tackling tax evasion. This year, both the OECD and the Slovak EU Council Presidency have made an important contribution to making international taxation fair and effective.
I am truly impressed by the large number of countries (99) that have joined this initiative and who are around the table today. More than half are not OECD or G20 members: 55% of this Ad Hoc Group. This in itself is a success, particularly in the context of the new Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) launched a few months ago, and which already includes 87 countries and jurisdictions.
I am delighted that APEC has made tackling tax avoidance and evasion a priority and pleased to be here with you today to share the latest developments in our work on these issues, which the OECD has been undertaking in partnership with economies across the globe, including a growing number of APEC economies.
For several years now, the OECD has worked closely with you to support the powerful agenda you have set to drive progress in tackling tax evasion and avoidance. While we have made a significant leap forward, setting high international standards and developing state-of-the-art tools to ensure the benefits of transparency can be accessed across the globe, we know that the challenges continue to evolve.
This ratification marks the latest move in Switzerland’s significant efforts of recent years to implement the international standards on tax transparency.
While much has already been accomplished to strengthen tax compliance and enforcement, there is still further progress to be made. And second, we think that greater consideration needs to be given to the role that tax policy can play to foster trade, investment and growth. Now is a good time to look at the aspects of tax policy and administration that may be undermining investment, which remains too weak, not least in Europe.