Spat over Gibraltar holds up OECD

The OECD was expected to publish a report of its Committee on Fiscal Affairs today (Monday) but Madrid, an OECD member, has refused to agree the report until it gets action over Gibraltar.

The Spanish claim the territory has no right to negotiate for itself on international issues and that the UK must represent the island at the OECD.

Reports in Spanish newspaper El Pais say Madrid is concerned that unilateral agreements with the OECD would give Gibraltar more international recognition than it could tolerate.

The British government has responded by saying it has no jurisdiction over the fiscal matters of Gibraltar.

The blocked report is the key document that contains the proposal to postpone until 30 November the latest OECD blacklist of tax havens which would grant extra time to many off-shore tax jurisdictions to consider the organisation’s proposals.

Currently 35 tax havens appear on an OECD blacklist, for failing to co-operate over harmful tax practices. The countries are threatened with economic sanctions and having favourable tax treaties scrapped if they do not change their position.

But last week it emerged that the organisation is likely to ease the pressure on the tax havens in exchange for a full backing from the Bush administration.


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