David Burt on ECOFIN
House: Burt hits back at attacks on Bermuda
Bermuda is being unfairly targeted by international groups which show a “wilful lack of understanding” of the global economy, David Burt said today.
The Premier insisted some European officials said the island is on the right track with its efforts on tax transparency when he took part in meetings last week.
However, he said some non-governmental organisations are attempting to apply standards to Bermuda that are not applied to European Union, OECD and G20 jurisdictions.
He was speaking in the House of Assembly, after the EU’s economic and financial affairs council, known as ECOFIN, reaffirmed Bermuda’s status as a co-operative tax jurisdiction.
The British media highlighted how the island is among 47 jurisdictions warned to take extra steps to prevent corporate tax avoidance.
Mr Burt told MPs: “Notwithstanding our sound regulatory environment and fair and transparent tax regime, Bermuda remains a target of some who seek to pursue a political agenda pushed through by certain international non-governmental organisations on global tax reform that seeks to apply standards to Bermuda and other offshore jurisdictions that are not applied to EU, OECD and G20 jurisdictions.
“Much of this unfair effort is based on inaccurate and misleading representations and a wilful lack of understanding of the efficient functioning of the global economy.
“Last week, following my meetings in London, I had the pleasure of speaking and meeting with Ministry of Finance officials from France and Germany.
“Those officials support Bermuda’s efforts and indicated that we were on the right track with our leadership in the area of global tax transparency.
“They suggested that Bermuda could serve as an example for other jurisdictions, and it is our intention to do so.
“Bermuda plays its part in the global effort for greater transparency in tax regimes. We will ensure that Bermuda fulfills the commitments we have made to the European Union Code of Conduct Group to further enhancements to our transparency regime, and will continue to offer our support to the EU and OECD in an effort to make their standards globally applicable across varying tax regimes.
“However, we will continue to aggressively fight any effort to place us in a disadvantaged position through unfair treatment based on inaccurate information, often promoted by NGOs and their supporters, designed to serve their own political ends.
“To this end we must continue our dialogue in Brussels and in other European capitals with senior Government and political influencers to protect Bermuda’s reputation and to ensure continued prosperity for Bermuda and Bermudians.”
Mr Burt, who is also Minister of Finance, also repeated his statement that “Bermuda is not a place to hide money”.
He said the island has demonstrated its commitment to transparency and fairness through participation in the Common Reporting Standard and Country by Country automatic reporting regimes. and by our membership in the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion & Profit Shifting.
He added that any legitimate tax authority can request and receive information from Bermuda under 114 tax-transparency relationships pursuant to the OECD multilateral tax treaty.
He said Brussels recognises Bermuda as a soundly regulated insurance market, and that it has achieved compliance with Solvency II, an achievement matched only by Switzerland and Japan.
• To read Mr Burt’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”
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