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El Panamá América

Saturday, 18th May 2002

Editorial

"Against the OECD's Whims"

Those of us who have been fighting against the current administration's policy of immediately giving up Panama's position as an international services centre have had the satisfaction of receiving the opinion and message of two eminent figures, Dr. Daniel Mitchell of the prestigious Heritage Foundation, and well-known Andrew Quinlan of Centre for Freedom and Prosperity, both of which centres are based in the United States.

According to these distinguished visitors, even though Panama signed a tax information exchange agreement with the OECD, it is not obliged to enter into implementation agreements to that effect with any country until the rest of the OECD members have also signed the commitment and the particular exchange agreements, as that is the essence of an even playing field and non discrimination among members of that organization.

This means that Panama does have to sign nor inform on anything else until financial powers such as Switzerland, Luxembourg, England and the United States, among others, do the same.

The OECD seeks to do away with what are derogatorily called "tax havens", but which are rather countries that have low tax regimes.  Among these is Panama.  The weapon they use for this is inclusion in the blacklist of non-cooperative countries following the policy that organisation pursues of standardizing tax regimes on the basis of high tax countries or, failing that, taxing in every country any income that its citizens receive from abroad.

What the OECD and its cartel of nations actually seek is to eliminate the competition raised by other more moderate tax regimes such as the Panamanian system - which is a territorial regime - and to leave citizens throughout the world with no alternatives in face of abusive tax regimes, which is exactly what the Heritage Foundation and the Freedom and Prosperity Centre are opposed to.

We are not alone:  there are movements in the United States and other developed countries to counter-attack the whims of the OECD and like institutions.  It is up to Panama, particularly its citizenry, to get in touch with those sectors in other countries, in order to make common cause and to exchange information that we can use to fight and defend our tax regimes and their attractions for foreign investment.

We have no other choice but to fight and resist because, otherwise, our banking centre, the corporations and financial services market and the Colon Free Zone, on which 80% of the domestic economy depends, would crumble.

 

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