CARICOM’s COTED rebukes French President Nicolas Sarkozy

French President His Excellency Nicloas Sarkozy

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, DECEMBER 8TH 2011 (CUOPM) – CARICOM’s Council for Trade and Economic Development, COTED, has rebuked French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s characterization of three (3) CARICOM states as “tax havens.” In a statement the COTED says “The Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), like Europe, are seeking to re-ignite growth, create jobs and ensure financial stability.””We are therefore deeply concerned by the recent statements made by the President of France at the end of the G-20 Summit last month which identified Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago as “Tax Havens,” the statement said.According to the COTED statement, “In particular, CARICOM States consider the remarks made at the G-20 Summit Press Conference by the President to the effect that the eleven (11) countries identified by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes are regarded as “Tax Havens” to be at variance with the spirit conveyed in the Official Declaration by the G-20.”The President’s remarks fail to recognize the efforts being made by the CARICOM States identified to bring their legal and regulatory framework into compliance with the global standard.

The indiscriminate characterization as a result of these remarks has brought the good reputation of these States into question.To be absolutely clear, the Global Forum has not, in fact, published a list of eleven (11) “Tax Havens”, and it has certainly not identified any of these jurisdictions as a “Tax Haven.” Given our Member States’ ongoing collaboration and cooperation with the Global Forum in order to ensure that their legal and regulatory framework meets the global standard, such characterization of CARICOM States is subjective and completely without basis.

We therefore categorically reject the President’s assertions with respect to CARICOM States.

CARICOM Member States acknowledge the outcome of the Peer Reviews and have been taking action both in respect of our national legal and regulatory framework, as well as in respect of the Intra-CARICOM Double Taxation Agreement (ICDTA), which has been in existence amongst our countries since 1994.In this regard, we are amending the ICDTA to bring the Exchange of Information provisions in compliance with the global standard.The Global Forum is intended to be a collaborative and cooperative process rather than the adversarial relationship with the OECD that had prevailed in the past. CARICOM States acknowledge and recognize and will continue to support the Global Forum process.

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