Business Engages Top International Tax Officials at OECD Conference in Washington

 

Washington, DC, June 5, 2007 – Nearly 300 U.S. and international executives, government officials and other tax experts convened at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., for a major two-day conference, which highlighted the work of the OECD in the development of national tax policy and international tax arrangements governing cross-border trade and investment.

Organized by the OECD, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD, the conference, titled “New OECD International Tax Initiatives: Looking Ahead,” sought to provide American business with the opportunity to interact directly with key representatives from the OECD and its Center for Tax Policy and Administration.  Also on the program were senior representatives of the U.S. Treasury/Internal Revenue Service and private industry.

The 30-nation OECD seeks to promote growth through coordination of economic and regulatory policies between its members, all of which are democratic market economies.  BIAC, composed of major business federations from all OECD countries, provides policy guidance to OECD members.  USCIB is BIAC’s representative in the United States and regularly fields American industry experts for BIAC and OECD activities.

Constance A. Morella, U.S. ambassador to the OECD, opened the influential annual conference, now in its fourth year.  “Thomas Friedman has said the world is flat, but it’s worth noting that there are still some bumps, including in tax policy,” she commented.  “The OECD tries, with strong business support, to flatten some of those bumps.”

Thelma Askey, deputy secretary general of the OECD, also addressed the gathering.  “The U.S. government plays a leading role at the OECD in getting agreement on international tax rules,” she said.  “Without clear, transparent rules that have the support of governments around the world, business often finds itself tied up in uncertainty, intractable disputes and double taxation.”

In a keynote address today, Eric Solomon, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for tax policy, presented an overview of the U.S. tax system and its effects on American competitiveness.  He noted that, since the last major overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 1986, other developed countries had lowered corporate tax rates to spur investment and boost employment.

“As the global economy continues to expand and markets become more open to investment, developed economies such as those within the OECD continue to adapt their corporate tax systems to compete in the global marketplace,” Mr. Solomon stated.  “However, since 1993, the federal statutory corporate tax rate has remained 35 percent.”

Also speaking at the conference were Jeffrey Owens, head of the OECD’s Center for Tax Policy & Administration; Patrick J. Ellingsworth, executive vice president, Royal Dutch Shell and chairman of BIAC’s Taxation Committee; Peter M. Robinson, president of USCIB; and numerous tax experts from the OECD secretariat, U.S. government and major multinational companies.

The event drew representatives from more than a hundred top companies, testifying to the broad importance of the OECD’s work and its influence on international taxation policies.  The full conference agenda is available at www.uscibtax.org.  Among the topics up for discussion were:
• attribution of profits to permanent establishments
• the application of the transfer pricing guidelines
• issues arising from business restructurings
• cooperation and information exchange in international tax administration
• other tax treaty topics, such as the non-discrimination principle and collective investment vehicles
• current OECD work on cross-border services, and the OECD’s dispute resolution report.

“As we move forward on these issues, it is essential that U.S. business provide ongoing input,” said the OECD’s Mr. Owens.  “Conferences like these, and input from USCIB, ensures that the solutions we adopt work for American firms operating in the global marketplace.”

Lynda K. Walker, USCIB’s vice president and international tax counsel, commented that the annual conferences have become a highlight of the U.S. tax calendar.  “By bringing together the main U.S.-based organizations that work on international tax policy, these events enable American business to more effectively follow and provide input to the OECD’s work.”

Supporting sponsors of the event included the International Fiscal Association-USA Branch, the International Tax Policy Forum, the National Foreign Trade Council, the Organization for International Investment, the Tax Council Policy Institute and the Tax Foundation.

USCIB promotes an open system of global commerce in which business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare and protection of the environment.  Its membership includes more than 300 leading U.S. companies, professional services firms and associations whose combined annual revenues exceed $3.5 trillion.  As the exclusive American affiliate of three key global business groups – the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers, and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD –  USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade.  More information is available at www.uscib.org.

 

Relevant links:
Conference agenda
BIAC website
More on USCIB’s Taxation Committee

 

For further information please contact:

USCIB: Jonathan Huneke, VP communications, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043 (office), +1 917.420.0039 (mobile) or jhuneke@uscib.org  
OECD: Jeffrey Owens, Director of the OECD's Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (tel. + 33 1 45 24 91 08, jeffrey.owens@oecd.org)

 

 

 

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