ITIO welcomes OECD agreement on level playing field
The International Tax and Investment Organisation
(ITIO) and its members held two days of discussions
with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD)
and its member states at a meeting organised by the
Commonwealth Secretariat in St Lucia on 24 and 25
April 2002. Participants in the talks also included
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.
afterwards, Lynette Eastmond, Director of the ITIO
Secretariat, said, "We are glad that, in the
next phase of discussions between the OECD and ITIO
members, the OECD has agreed to work with ITIO members
towards elaborating a framework for establishing a
level playing field."
1. In order to address the challenges and prospects
facing small countries' international financial services
sectors, the Commonwealth Secretariat convened a meeting
on 24-25 April in St Lucia, "A New Partnership
for International Financial Services: Prospects and
Challenges". The meeting was chaired by Winston
Cox, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General and hosted
by the St Lucia Government.
2. Numerous senior officials from Commonwealth countries,
multilateral organisations (including the OECD and
ITIO) and donor bodies gathered to discuss concrete
proposals about the specific needs of small and developing
countries in meeting international standards where
these exist, diversifying their financial services
sectors and promoting the overall development of their
3. Some 31 small and developing economies (SDEs) identified
unilaterally by the OECD as "tax havens"
have committed to working with the OECD to develop
new international standards for transparency and effective
exchange of information.
4. In letters to the OECD, members of the ITIO and
other jurisdictions have made it clear that their
commitments are offered on the basis that they consider
the establishment of a level playing field among all
OECD member countries - and also non-member jurisdictions
- to be essential.
5. Seven SDEs (Andorra, Liechtenstein, Liberia, Monaco,
The Marshall Islands, Nauru and Vanuatu) have refused
to make this commitment. Along with OECD members Switzerland
and Luxembourg, who have abstained from the OECD initiative,
they may be subjected to "coordinated defensive
measures" by OECD countries after April 2003.
6. The International Tax and Investment Organisation
(ITIO) is a grouping of small and developing economies
(SDEs) set up in March 2001 to help SDEs respond to
global tax and investment challenges. It explicitly
considers the development implications of these challenges.
7. The ITIO currently comprises Anguilla, Antigua
and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin
Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Labuan (Malaysia),
St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, Turks & Caicos
and Vanuatu. The Commonwealth Secretariat, Pacific
Islands Forum Secretariat, CARICOM Secretariat, Caribbean
Development Bank and Eastern Caribbean Central Bank
have observer status.
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