OECD nations to discuss global tax agenda

| 21/09/2009

(CNS): Plans to discuss the harmonization of corporation taxes around the world to stop companies switching their base of operations at this week’s G20 has been the real objective of the OECD for over a decade, says CIFSA Chair Anthony Traverse. Reports this weekend in the international press that the UK and the US have been talking about the idea for several months and that it will be on the Pittsburg agenda this Thursday/ Friday is the first time the G20 nations have admitted their real ambition Travers stated.

“As a number of us have been predicting we see now the hidden agenda revealed for the first time in pure terms,” the Cayman Islands Financial Services Association Chair added. “The ‘one size fits all global tax rate’ has evidently  been the real OECD objective for over a decade from the date of  publication of the “Harmful Tax Competition “initiative  in 1997 which regarded all forms of competitive tax rate  as a threat to the sustainability of high levels of tax in industrialised counties.”

Travers noted that the recognition by the OECD of the Cayman Islands’ white list credentials and compliance on tax transparency has left the G20 nations with no other option but to come clean on what he says are their true long term intentions.  

However, Travers says that this time the argument may be considerably easier to win, given the fact that the “objective is unobtainable,” he added. Travers said that neither the European Union countries nor the United States are in an economic position to dictate a global rate of tax, so the initiative is doomed to failure. He said that the CIFSA public relations campaign would need to be stepped up but given the switch in the agenda this campaign would be a less problematic to counter on grounds of pure economics  now the tax evasion stigma is finally removed from the debate .

“The issue for Cayman is one of long term strategy and with which economies it seeks to align more closely,” he said. “Obviously CIFSA continues to provide its advice to the Cayman government on these matters.”

The discussion regarding a ‘global tax’ is not expected to be on the G20 formal agenda but it is expected to be discussed privately by officials from countries including Britain.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the controversial idea was opposed by the UK government. However, there seems to have been a reversal on that position and the idea is being posed as a way to stop countries from cutting their tax rates in an attempt to poach big companies.

Reports suggest that the UK has been won over to the idea as its own 28 percent rate is not competitive, being the eighth highest in the OECD club of rich nations and the UK is in no position to cut the rate because of the country’s spiralling debt.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Business

About the Author ()

Comments (11)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a Caymanian who hopes that he has many more years ahead than past in the financial services sector, and who has not yet made partner in one of the major firms, I understand the concerns and criticisms some express. There are many of us who feel that the positions being taken on advice to government reflect the narrow interests of a handful of senior partners and managers who write the cheques to pay for the CIFSA campaign, rather than the long term interests of the country and industry. There is growing frustration that there is no long term strategy to secure the interests of the vast majority of people in the local industry, but rather just spin (poorly) crafted to give prominence to one individual, and the false impression that something meaningful is being done.

    I suspect that Mr. Travers has at least some good intention and does want to be a saviour of sorts for Cayman. It would be nice if he turns out to be such rather than a false prophet. 

    I do not know whether Mr. Travers is continually misquoted by the media attempting to sensationalise what he in fact has been saying. However, apparent and repeated media gaffs are a concern. We want Cayman and those who seek to represent us to be seen as having a firm grasp on the facts that confront us. Hopefully as events move forward, there will be no errors to be criticised. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow. My faith in humanity is restored.

      It would be amazing, and a wonderful thing if you were my own child; and you could well be as I am sure that one or more of them post here anonymously.

      However, I will not lay claim as you are far more important as a child of everyone who loves this country and calls it home.

      How refreshing it is to see such an intelligent post without the usual Cayman vs Expat education, experience, and any other crap that renders the post totally meaningless.

      For you to focus so succintly on the issues rather than UDP or PPM tells me that there is a generation that will rise above the mess that we are creating.

      May you ever remain anonymous, so that in our hearts we may all secretly consider you our very own.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is only the marginally informed who post anonymously on this site who appear to think CIFSA are ill informed. Clearly when CIFSA speaks the global media listen. This is a quantum leap forwards  Of course the major firms fund CIFSA. And your point is ?  

    • Anonymous says:

       Anthony Travers is believe genuinely fighting for Cayman , a place he has made his home . The reason the spotlight has been on him is that he has a thorough understanding of the situation and what needs to be done therefore of course the media will listen to him and give him column inches and airtime –  there is no one else that has his years of experience in this area. 

      Mr Travers is extremely successful and to be honest im sure he could do without all the hassle that goes with fighting for Cayman on the frontline. He isnt unlike some others paid for doing all that he does and I for one am extremely grateful to him . 


  2. Anonymous says:

    I just wished people had something more constructive to offer than have digs at Tony Travers . 



  3. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully Travers continues on the front lines for the country.

  4. Thankful says:

    Mr. Travers prayers are for yoru covering…for continued clear thinking and strengthened heart.

    May you continue to do what is right by the country you have embraced fully as home.  Thanks for not playing jacky-bothsides.  Thanks for being an example to others who migrated here and has obtained the right to be call citizen. 

    Your contribution is in valuable and from the position you have taken, it my view that it can only come from a heart that is genuine Caymanian.

    Thanks fellow caymanian

  5. Anonymous says:

    Long term strategy my a$$. The only long term strategy demonstrated in this story is one of making it up as you go along – more proof of the Fire Ready Aim approach.

    If, (and it is a very big if), Mr. Travers and the other "non-illuminati" had the notion that the OECD exercise was not about tax evasion, but rather was about gathering the tools and information necessary to drive economic activity towards the G20 states and away from smaller countries like Cayman, then there was no logic whatsoever in his advice to McKeeva to sign anything to get on the good side of the OECD.

    The single corporate tax rate discussion is not something new – although McKeeva’s new advisors may be just discovering it now. Too bad that they did not do a littlereading before heading off on path that will eventually lead us to disaster. The single corporate tax rate was developed within the European Commission 10 years ago and has been under discussion within the OECD for many years as the EU member states also make up half of the OECD member states. http://www.econ.ku.dk/pbs/diversefiler/Bolkestein.pdf

    God help us if this is the best advice that McKeeva is getting 


    • Anonymous says:

       Those of us who were in New York over a decade ago and heard Mr Travers prescient comments and read his articles about the OECD initiative  have no doubt whatsoever that he has called the  OECD hidden agenda  correctly  since 1997. Those who were not around then  and who have alternative views may wish to post something positive about the financial industry  course of action that suggests something other than  transparent and  disgruntled envy.  Clearly these personalized and irrelevant comments  are having no effect whatsoever on CIFSA’s ability to drive straight to the core of the issue

  6. Anonymous says:

     As usual Mr Travers is right on the money

    I hope Mac is listening to him and what CIFSA recommend as  CIG I dont believe have the expertise. 



    • Anonymous says:

      Right on the money??? You must be speaking tongue in cheek.

      I hope that Mac starts to take some advice from people out there who understood what the OECD was doing years ago. The "revelation" which Mr Travers appears to have recently had relates to what many have recognised for a very long time.

      The "sign anything to make the OECD happy but get nothing for Cayman" approach may have helped some of the big money boys keep their fat bonuses as they prepare to move back to Hampshire or whereever they came from, but for those of us who truly call Cayman home it is a disaster as Mr Travers appears to be on the verge of finally recognising.