Report of the conference Tax Havens

Martina Bertani

On Wednesday March 12, from 11.15 am to 12.45 pm, Ricardo Garcia Zaldivar and Carlos Ruiz Escudero held a conference about tax havens. The conference was held in the Aula Magna of the Carlos III University.
Mr. Garcia Zaldivar explained that before globalization and financialization States and productive capital under its control had common interests, such as national economic development. But the current financial capital is transnational in nature, and upholds only the private interests. During the post-war period petrodollars born and banks were created in offshore territories and in the 90s they were joined pension funds. The speaker underlined that tax haven is not something sligh. In fact, in 2000 the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) identified 35 countries as tax havens. Mr. Garcia Zaldivar continued his speech by explaining that for us tax haven means evasion, 80 billion of euros only considering the evasion of Spain. There is a tax competition between States and this leads to negative consequences for society. In fact, there will be an increasing corruption and an impoverishment of countries.
Then the speaker wondered how can we progress in eradicating tax havens. He thinks that there should be an agreement in the G20 because we need global initiatives. We need to progress in the G20 and global governments and administration.
Afterwards Mr. Garcia Zaldivar went on to identificate six acts/measurements to stop tax havens. The first is the removal of bank secrecy, that means to render public the names of titulars of accounts. Also the G20 and NGOs press to finish with bank secrecy. The second act is strengthening technical, human and financial resources of the Spanish tax authorities. The speaker said that we have to fight against tax fraud and this is not easy because in Spain there are very few inspectors to investigate big companies. This problem is common also in Italy, Greece and Portugal. The third measurement is that TNCs require an annual report of each country in which they operate. The G20 must be forced to require transnational surrender of a country by country financial report (for each of the operating subsidiaries), from 2012 and which should include the corporate name of the companies operating in each country and the details of its financial performance including an intra group sales to third countries. The fourth act consists in requiring the identity of customers with accounts in offshore banks with branches. The fifth is to identify the clause Automatic Information Exchange. The G20 is also the chance of establishing a commission to the UN, the OECD and the EU that within 6 monthly to secure incorporate clause Automatic Exchange of information to model arrangement. The last act consists in the press to Switzerland to work with Justice and Finance of the countries that claim information. Switzerland’s behaviour is a real problem for Europe because it is not part of Europe but it is a member of the OECD. Mr. Garcia Zaldivar ended up his speech by saying that we have to convince the world that it is possible to eradicate tax havens. Afterwards Mr. Ruiz Escudero started his speech talking about the Financial Transaction Tax. The speaker reminded that there is speculation which allows millions to flow daily and in order to mitigate this there was a very big campaign to stop speculation and the Financial Transaction Tax could be a solution. The present financial crisis is due to speculation, in fact companies have caused the current crisis. The money gathered in this way could be applied to social needs (health, education, pension). The United Kingdom from the very first moment was against the financial transaction tax. Also Holland and Finland are against this tax. Several billions of euros would be gathered with the application of this tax. Germany is pushing to apply this tax and France also. Spain is doing nothing and Italy as well. Mr. Ruiz Escudero reminded that the UK’s government allows tax haven, for example London and Gibraltar are tax havens.

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