Havens fight back

Representatives from the world’s tax havens will gather in London later this month to develop a battle plan for their fight against inter-national moves to cut harmful tax competition.

Organisers hope the meeting will address the concern that tax havens are being bullied into submission by larger countries, and lead to a unified response against such efforts by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Alan Vichert, vice president of the World Association of International Finance Centres, has sent invitations to the 50 or so tax havens which appear on the OECD’s hit list.

The OECD accuses them of predatory tax policies that are deliberately designed to syphon off the tax base of other countries.

Gibraltar, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Vancouver are already involved in WAIFC.

Vichert, who is based in Vancouver, hopes the London meeting will encourage more to join, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

He said the UK crown dependencies had already indicated they would send representatives to the meetings.

Vichert said WAIFC members did not like being dictated to by the OECD.

‘The international financial services industry has been calling for some time for a co-ordinated response from IFC governments; that is now exactly what they are getting.’

WAIFC was founded last year as an association of the governments of international finance centres around the world designed to promote common interests.

However, the full implications of the OECD’s initiative became apparent at around the same time, sparking more interest in the group.

Robert Briercliffe, financial controller of the Isle of Man Treasury, said he approved of any endeavour to present a united front on the tax competition issue.

The meeting will run over two days, starting on 29 April.

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