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St. Vincent signs TIEAs with New Zealand and Australia

St. Vincent signs TIEAs with New Zealand and Australia

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On March 16 and 18, 2010, St. Vincent and the Grenadines concluded its latest Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with New Zealand and Australia, respectively.{{more}} Signing the TIEA with Australia was this country’s Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, while Australia’s High Commissioner to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Phillip Charles Kentwell, signed on behalf of Australia. The signing took place at Cabinet Room, Administrative Centre, Kingstown, and His Excellency Kentwell travelled to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the occasion.

The TIEA with New Zealand was signed in Washington by Ambassador to the OAS Her Excellency La Celia Prince, on behalf of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. His Excellency Roy Ferguson, New Zealand’s Ambassador to the USA, signed this Agreement on behalf of New Zealand.

These recent TIEAs bring the total number of TIEAs completed by SVG to date to 11. Prior to the New Zealand and Australia’s TIEAs, nine TIEAs were already established with Aruba, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

The pursuit of TIEAs has been undertaken by SVG in order to demonstrate its commitment to implementing the OECD’s internationally agreed tax standards with respect to the exchange of tax information. The country has, therefore, been involved in negotiations with OECD and other countries in order to obtain at least 12 such Agreements by March 31, 2010, in order to be removed from the OECD’s ‘grey list’ of countries, which are countries described as having ‘committed to the internationally agreed tax standard but have not yet substantially implemented’ its commitment.

SVG expects to meet the OECD stipulated deadline for removal from its grey list as it has eight more TIEAs targeted for signing before March 31, 2010.

The OECD has already recognized that the OECS countries have made significant progress in signing TIEAs with other countries, and as a result the emphasis of the OECD moving forward is likely to be a Peer Review process to ensure that procedures for exchange of information are in place rather than blacklisting. Despite this, France, a member of the OECD, had unilaterally blacklisted eighteen countries, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in late January this year. Dr. the Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves, in his capacity as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, has since written to the French President Nicolas Sarkozy voicing this country’s objection to this blacklisting in view of the fact that negotiations are ongoing between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and France for the establishment of a TIEA, and an Agreement is soon to be signed.

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