Prime Minister Stuart: Communication Is The Key

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has called for dialogue among the Global Forum, multinational financial institutions which use their ratings and those countries affected by those assessments.

Mr. Stuart said some multinational organisations had implemented policies that use the Forum???s ratings in a manner that had the unintended consequence of penalising countries that were graded partially compliant or lower.

The Prime Minister made the comments on Thursday while delivering the feature address at the Eighth OECD Global Forum Plenary at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

He continued: ???Unless such financial institutions communicate with both the Global Forum and the affected countries, they run the risk of making decisions without fully appreciating the peculiarities of the country, and the progress it is making to address the concerns.

???This is even more so in cases where the Global Forum itself acknowledges the progress that the country concerned is making, and is working with that country to help it to implement the recommendations. Under such circumstances, therefore, a country???s development goals can be compromised because of the weight given to a policy which seems not to fully take into consideration that country???s interaction with the Global Forum???s processes.???

Mr. Stuart said he was of the view that there needed to be some mechanism to ensure that countries that had fully committed to the Global Forum???s process, and were actively taking the steps to implement recommendations to its satisfaction, did not suffer the fate of being penalised by other agencies. ???I believe the Global Forum has a very important role in contributing to this discussion,??? he emphasised.

He indicated that despite being fully engaged in the Global Forum???s process and showing a real commitment to implementing the recommendations, Barbados was in danger of losing one of its major companies.

???In effect, a Barbados entity was having difficulty accessing financing for a multimillion dollar project because we had not yet completed implementing a recommendation that could trigger a request to the Global Forum for a Supplemental report, within certain timeframes set by the financial institution.

???In this case the key issue we had to address in order to have an overall rating of at least ???largely compliant??? was a non-technical matter which had to do with our policy preference to negotiate tax treaties, rather than tax information exchange agreements,??? Mr. Stuart explained.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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