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El Panamá América

Tuesday, 13th February 2001 

If it agrees to OECD's changes
PANAMA COULD LOSE ITS FINANCIAL PRIVACY:
Dan Mitchell and Andrew Quinlan affirm the U.S. may withdraw support for interventionism in internal matters.

by Rafael E. Berrocal R.
El Panamá América 

     Panama could lose its "financial privacy" if it agrees to the changes demanded by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Dan Mitchell, a Heritage Foundation expert on tax reform, asserted yesterday.

     According to Mitchell, European countries are trying to get rid not only of competitor countries such as Panama but also the United States, which is why the idea that the U.S. withdraw support for the blacklist is being promoted in the U.S. Capitol. He also stated that Panama is not a tax haven since it has territorial taxes. Mitchell's statements were made at the first "Competitiveness of Panamanian Export Services: Threats and Opportunities" forum.

     Mitchell pointed out that Panama must join forces with other countries that are in the same position, in order to stand against the OECD and not accept its demands.

     "What they want to do is to create a world tax system to prevent their investors from looking for other places to install their businesses", Mitchell maintained.

     No one is against the countries making up the OECD having high taxes; what is not right is for them to force other countries to raise their taxes.

     "Every country is free to have the rates of interest that best suit it and which also promote competition", he said.

     Andrew Quinlan, the president of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, stated that their role is to inform the Bush administration why the measures demanded by the OECD are not good.

     "We are seeking to have the United States withdraw support for this OECD's measure, which would force all the others to back down in this action", Quinlan commented.

     On his part, Panamanian attorney Carlos Ernesto González Ramírez, an expert on international finance, declared that Panama cannot keep on applying measures that take away competitivity from its financial center because the country has been included on a blacklist of alleged tax havens.

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