sef: Policy Lunch 2015

CC BY-SA 2.0 401(K) 2012/flickr

International tax cooperation
for sustainable development worldwide

 

In recent years, multinational enterprises (MNEs) have frequently hit the headlines for (legally) exploiting differences in national laws in order to minimise their tax liability. Tax avoidance by multinationals is currently costing the EU Member States an estimated one trillion euros a year. This gap needs to be closed.

The OECD’s BEPS Project (base erosion and profit shifting) is intended to give countries the tools they need to ensure that multinationals’ profits are taxed where the economic activities generating the profits are performed. This shifts the revenue authorities’ focus away from private individuals towards companies. Multinationals with an annual turnover above EUR 750 million would be obliged to report their profits and tax payments to national tax authorities on a country-by-country basis. In October 2014, the G20 countries and major financial centres endorsed a new standard on automatic annual exchange of tax information. At the time of writing (12 February 2015), the 20 leading industrialised countries and emerging economies are making progress towards an international tax regime; for example, at the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Istanbul, they agreed to address key elements of international tax rules by the end of 2015. To support implementation, a multilateral instrument which could be integrated into existing tax treaties will be negotiated by the end of 2016. The use of this tool would avoid the need for lengthy negotiations to update the 3,000 or so bilateral tax treaties worldwide.

In their Communiqué following the Istanbul meeting, the G20 countries invited the developing countries to join the Action Plan. The developing countries have not yet been involved as they lack the bureaucratic and technical infrastructure needed to support data exchange. Developing countries around the world are therefore advocating for a stepwise solution. Options will be discussed at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July 2015.

At their Policy Lunch in Brussels, the Development and Peace Foundation (sef:) and its cooperating partner CIDSE are keen to discuss with experts how the EU can and will position itself at the summit with a view to achieving more tax justice, especially for developing countries. Key questions are whether the OECD should continue to be the main forum for discussion of international tax cooperation, what role the G20 has to play, and whether the United Nations would be a more appropriate framework, based on a newly created intergovernmental tax body.

This latter approach is advocated not only by various non-governmental organisations but also by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Agenda.

Key questions

  1. Where are the major gaps in international tax justice which need to be addressed at the conference in Addis Ababa?
  2. 2015 is a crucial year for international cooperation (keywords: new international climate change agreement, SDG agenda). What are the implications for more effective international tax cooperation?
  3. What measures need to be taken to ensure that developing countries benefit from international tax cooperation to a greater extent in future?

Brussels
Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to the EU

6 May 2015

Conference language English

Cooperating Partner
CIDSE - International Alliance of Catholic Development Agencies, Brussels

Supported by the
Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and the Media of North Rhine-Westphalia

NEWS

sef: Bonn Symposium 2017

Local partnerships to implement the SDGs

REGISTER NOW!

On 5th and 6th December 2017, sef: will, together with the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) of Engagement Global gGmbH, the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and other supporters, host its annual Bonn Symposium. What are good examples of partnerships within and between municipalities worldwide? What can be done to facilitate better knowledge sharing among municipalities– and how can networks of cities make a contribution here? These questions will be discussed with international representatives from municipalities, city networks as well as from academia, business and civil society. Register now!

:further info here

sef: Policy Lunch 2017

Is a legally-binding UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights possible?

SAVE THE DATE

What is the state of the United Nations negotiations on a legally-binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights? What is the European Union’s position towards the negotiations taking place in October again? Experts will discuss the current developments at the sef: Policy Lunch on 20 November 2017. The event will take place in cooperation with CIDSE – International Alliance of Catholic Development Agencies at the Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to the EU in Brussels. Further information will follow soon.


:further info here

"More advocacy work needed"

INTERVIEW WITH CEPHAS LUMINA
Former UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights

In 2012, the Guiding Principles on Foreign Debt and Human Rights were endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council. What has happened since? What still has to be done? Professor Cephas Lumina, former UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights assesses the current situation in a video interview with sef: on the occasion of an International sef: Expert Workshop  on “Human Rights and the Global Economy”. The interview is also available in written form as sef: insight.

:further info here

"Women are losing out"

INTERVIEW WITH RANJA SENGUPTA
Third World Network, New Delhi

In countries of the Global South, trade and investment agreements often have a negative effect on the weakest parts of society, in particular women. Why is this so? And how can unequal power relations that foster an economic system at the expense of the weakest be challenged? At a recent International sef: Expert Workshop, Ranja Sengupta shared the results of her research in India in a video interview. The interview is also available in written form as sef: insight.

:further info here