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OECD Conclusions Welcomed 24 October 2003

The outcome of the recent OECD global forum on taxation was welcomed, according to Treasury Minister Allan Bell MHK.

The jointly agreed closing statement recognised that "a global level playing field does not yet exist and that further progress could and should be made to achieve it", in order to ensure that the process is fair to all participants. As a result, the forum agreed to set up a working group to look at ways of achieving more of a 'level playing field' between all member countries, committed jurisdictions and other third countries in the development of global standards for the exchange of tax-related information.

The forum, in Ottawa, Canada, was attended by representatives of 40 OECD and non-OECD governments including a delegation from the Isle of Man comprising Attorney General John Corlett, Chief Financial Officer Mark Shimmin, Assessor of Income Tax Ian Kelly and Deputy Assessor Colin Goodwin. The delegation was joined in Ottawa by a representative of an international firm of lawyers.

Welcoming the outcome of the meeting, Mr Bell commented: ‘The recognition by the OECD of the need for greater fairness in progressing its agenda on taxation is encouraging news for the Isle of Man.

'The Island was one of the first non-OECD countries to commit to the OECD programme, in accordance with our policy of constructive engagement with such international initiatives. But we made it clear from the outset that we expected a level playing field - in other words, that the OECD’s requirements should apply equally to countries large and small around the world.’

Mr Bell concluded: ‘The OECD’s confirmation of the importance of the level playing field principle is very much in line with what the Isle of Man has been saying all along, and we look forward to further progress on this issue.’

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