New Zealand finance minister, Dr Frank Cullen, said international sanctions should not be imposed on small nations accused of being tax havens and money laundering centres. He said he will press other countries to take the same line.
A confrontational approach could be counterproductive, he said, while it was important to eradicate abuse. ‘We’re not going to see excessively heavy – handed action taken against poor countries which have great difficulty generating economic growth.’
Last month the OECD delayed publishing a black list of tax havens while sensitive talks continue with the US.
It was forced to revise its approach after US secretary Paul O’Neill expressed reservations with the initiatives.
‘I am troubled by the underlying premise that low tax rates are somehow suspect and by the notion that any country, or group of countries, should interfere in any other country’s decision about how to structure its own tax system,’ he said.
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