Sunday, November 02, 2014

Panama will reexamine OECD standard for automatic exchange of information

The Ministry of Foreign Relations of Panama, headed by Vice-President Isabel de Saint Malo posted this communique in its website:

Panama is in the process of re-evaluating its strategy to meet state requirements for financial transparency and exchange of information at international level, without neglecting national interests.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has established itself a new international standard for automatic exchange of information . However, its scope, methodology, limitations and other basics have not been defined. In this sense, it is premature for Panama to commit itself until it is fully developed.
The automatic exchange of information (AEOI) creates major challenges that have to be evaluated in light of Panamanian law, the interests of the country and the protection of guarantees to users of our services platform.  
Panama is a country that attracts foreign investment for legitimate reasons and must provide assurance to the users of our service platform. The country itself is prepared to take further measures to strengthen institutions to effectively fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, making sure we prepare properly for the development of policies of this nature which does not generate immediate impoverishment in our country.

The communique is issued 1 day after the new OECD/G20 standard on automatic exchange of information was endorsed by OECD and G20 countries "as well as major financial centres" invited to the  annual  meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in Berlin. A large number of United Nations members did not attend.   A status report on committed and not committed jurisdictions will be presented to G20 leaders during their annual summit in Brisbane, Australia on November 15-16.   

51 jurisdictions, many represented at Ministerial level, translated their commitments into action during a massive signing of a Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) that will activate automatic exchange of information, based on the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.  

Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA), tweeted that 89 countries committed themselves to AEOI,  However, absent from the OECD commitment report are OECD offshore centers such as Madeira, emerging markets such as Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Nigeria, Vietnam, Pakistan, U.S. trade partners such as Jordania, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Serbia, and Bulgaria, as well as Panama trade partners such as Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and the U.S.  The largest economy in the Earth, that of the U.S., did not even sign the MCAA.

The OECD actions take place 1 week before the November 111th celebrations of Panama's secession from Colombia, when nationalism is at its highest point.

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