Thursday, April 25, 2024

Barbados to host eighth meeting of the Global Forum


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BARBADOS WILL JOIN the ranks of several distinguished countries when it hosts the Eighth Meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, on October 29 and 30, at the Hilton Barbados.

The Global Forum, which is the world’s largest network for international cooperation in the field of taxation and financial information exchange, will bring together over 200 delegates representing approximately 127 countries and jurisdictions for discussions on new steps to accelerate international cooperation against tax evasion.

It will also focus attention on keeping tax transparency high on the agenda of Governments, as well as taking steps to ensure a worldwide level playing field.

In the past, plenary meetings have been held in North America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Bermuda (representing the Caribbean region).

Speaking about the upcoming event after a recent trip to Brussels, Belgium, to meet with the European Union (EU), International Business Minister, Donville Inniss, disclosed that prior to the plenary session of the Global Forum there will be a full week of high level meetings, which will take place from October 26. 

“At the Forum, we will discuss the Automatic Exchange of Information; common reporting standards of International Tax Policy matters; strengthening the Global Forum Mechanism and the Peer Review Process, where countries review one another, as well as enforcement mechanisms for it,” Inniss disclosed.

Expressing excitement at the packed agenda, the Minister noted that several senior officials in the area of political and economic development were planning to be part of the process. 

He further indicated that while in Paris, France, to attend a Global Forum Steering Committee Meeting, of which Barbados is vice chair, he held constructive discussions and resolved some issues pertaining to the membership of the Global Forum; reporting standards within the sector; and intergovernmental agreements between sovereign states.

“We examined some of the financing issues and administrative matters regarding the Global Forum. We looked at relations with the OECD and relations with the EU and other parties. But, I think that at the end of the day, there was the realisation that the Global Forum continues to be the premier global institution for sovereign states because the membership is for states only and not for individuals,” he maintained.

Inniss stated that he also addressed the divide between developed and developing countries; the role of the Global Forum; as well as the role of the competent authorities in our jurisdiction.

“So, I had a combination of technical meetings and policy meetings and we ended on a high with everyone looking forward to being in Barbados.  I can say that the Head of the Tax Department at the OECD is planning to be here and we may also have a former President of a developed country.  So, it is going to be a packed week of weighty discussions on weighty matters on the International Financial Services Sector here in Barbados,” he said.

The Global Forum is the continuation of a forum which was created in the early 2000s in the context of the OECD’s work to address the risks to tax compliance posed by tax havens. The original members were OECD countries and jurisdictions that had agreed to implement the international standard for transparency and exchange of information on request for tax purposes.

The Forum was restructured in September 2009 in response to a call from G20 nations to strengthen implementation of the standard. The body now has 126 members, and is the premier international body for ensuring the implementation of the internationally agreed standards of transparency and exchange of information on request in the tax area.

It is also expected that at the upcoming meeting, Global Forum members will discuss the Forum’s future work plans and how developing countries can maximise the benefits from technical assistance provided by the Forum. (BGIS)


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