Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Panama defies the United States on transparency

As the Seattle Times noted recently:

"Panama's "comparative advantage" is tax evasion. . . More than 350,000 corporations registered in Panama conduct virtually no business there."

Now, sent to TJN from U.S. Congressman Doggett's office:

"Last Friday, U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) urged President Obama to clarify the United States’ response to Panama’s continued recalcitrance on tax cooperation before proceeding with the Panama Free Trade Agreement. Specifically, Rep. Doggett and Sen. Levin asked the Administration to outline what commitment Panama has made to signing a tax information exchange agreement, if a date for formal negotiations has been set, or if the U.S. has made any other progress with Panama on tax transparency issues.

The letter is the second that Rep. Doggett and Sen. Levin have written to the administration stressing the importance of securing Panama’s cooperation. Earlier this year, they urged President Obama to make action on the Panama Free Trade Agreement contingent on Panama’s cooperation with efforts to combat international tax evasion. Rep. Doggett and Sen. Levin are the House and Senate sponsors of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act that targets offshore tax evasion and was endorsed by the Obama Administration.

“In these challenging economic times, we especially cannot afford to ignore Panama’s portion of the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars stashed in offshore banks,” said Rep. Doggett. “We cannot move forward with an agreement on trade while ignoring Panama’s status as one of the world’s recognized tax havens with a fortress of secretive banking and regulatory practices.”

“While some offshore jurisdictions around the world have said they will no longer use bank secrecy to help tax cheats, Panama apparently still refuses to negotiate a tax information exchange agreement with the United States. We should not reward Panama with a free trade agreement unless and until it agrees to disclose information on U.S. tax dodgers,” said Sen. Levin."

Read more here.

On a separate matter, for those interested in the minutiae of U.S. legislation, Doggett had something useful to say on a legislative amendment with the beautiful title "Net Operating Loss Carryback provision to the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act."

"Economists advise that every dollar we invest here on unemployment benefits, spurs economic growth (GDP) by $1.61 cents—very effective, a winner.

“But the corporate giveaway added to this bill – the so-called “loss carryback provision”—yields, according to the same economist, 19 cents for every dollar we invest—a real loser.

“Today’s bill allocates $2 billion to the winner and $10 billion to the loser."



Blogger Unknown said...

No respect for other countries sovereignty? Its clean the agenda here, working for the man/govt/corps. Leave Panama alone. We've got enough tax problems to work out here!

9:17 am  

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