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Tax-News.Com

New York, 19 February 2001

American Right Intensifies Its Campaign Against The OECD

by Mike Godfrey

 

     Senator Don Nickles, the Assistant Majority Leader of the US Senate, and a member of the Finance, Budget and Rules Committees, has released a letter he sent to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. Senator Nickles, who is second only to Majority Leader Trent Lott in the Senate, strongly urges that Secretary O'Neill defend international tax competition.

     Having checked the source of the letter (making sure it wasn't really sent by staffers working for Hilary Clinton, Al Gore or Larry Summers) Tax-News can confirm that it's genuine. The letter says:

     February 6, 2001

     The Honorable Paul H. O'Neill Secretary of the Treasury 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20220

     Dear Secretary O'Neill:

     In today's global economy, tax policy is an important part of a nation's competitiveness. The U.S. economy has prospered in part because we are attracting savings, investment, and entrepreneurial talent from other nations. Indeed, this is one more reason why President Bush's tax cuts are desirable.

     With this in mind, I want to express my deep concerns with an initiative sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Several years ago, the OECD launched a "harmful tax competition" project to pressure dozens of low-tax nations to change their tax and financial privacy policies or face financial protectionism from OECD nations. The previous administration supported this effort.

     I believe it is contrary to America's economic interests to restrict tax competition, a phenomenon that keeps politicians in check and enhances economic growth potential. Our relatively low-tax status has fueled economic growth and enabled our economy to draw investors and savings from many of our high-tax European competitors. Those competitors will eventually use the OECD initiative as a weapon to undermine our sovereign right to enact pro-growth tax policies.

     It does not make sense for the United States to participate in an effort that is inconsistent with our long-term tax agenda. I encourage you to review the OECD initiative and reconsider American support for it.

     Sincerely,

     DON NICKLES U.S. Senator

     DN/hm

     Thanks for your attention on this

     [Personal hand written note at bottom left]

     It's a popular act at the moment, writing to Paul O'Neill about the OECD, although he and the new administration haven't yet taken a public stance on the OECD offshore spat. Perhaps it was a topic of conversation this weekend at the G7 meeting in Palermo.

     While we all wait to find out how the US administration will line up, the Washington-based Centre for Freedom and Prosperity is making much of the running in the fight-back against the OECD's blacklist,

     After helping to orchestrate resistance to the OECD at its meetings in Barbados and London, the feisty CFP team is now planning to take the fight to the enemy's heartland, scheduling a tax competition/financial privacy forum in Paris in two weeks. Announces the CFP:

     "In our continuing efforts to make sure both side are represented in this debate, CFP will be hosting a forum prior to March 1 & 2 OECD/non-OECD task force meeting. We plan on bringing an international delegation of experts on tax competition, financial privacy and fiscal sovereignty. Almost certainly, this will be the first major tax competition forum to be held on "enemy" territory since the OECD's initiative was introduced. Since this will be the first open discussion on the matter in Paris, we will invite officials of the OECD to participate in the event."

     "If you would like to attend the forum please contact us at paris@freedomandprosperity.org."

     Lately the CFP has been in Panama, having been invited to participate in the First Forum on Competitiveness of Panama's Service Export Industry. Reports Andy Quinlan, CFP President:

     "The forum was very successful with more than 100 participants. During our trip, we met with senior government officials, top business leaders, local and international reporters, as well as average Panamanian citizens. Dan Mitchell of the Heritage Foundation and Mark Warner of Hughes Hubbard & Reed joined me with local speakers at the forum. Dan spoke on why tax competition is important and why the OECD project is misguided. Mark, a former OECD top trade lawyer, said the blacklist of tax havens was discriminatory under World Trade organization rules, and I discussed the activities of the Center. Our remarks were received with much applause.

     In a report in today's Financial Times, Andy Quinlan is described as: "The 6ft, 250lb former amateur US football player . . . launching a counter-attack on those he calls "evil bureaucrats" with a team stuffed with his buddies."

     Said Mr Quinlan in Panama: "To use a football term, we don't just need to tackle them, we need to knock them down, grind them into the ground and hurt them."

 

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