30 October 2008
“I am delighted to be here in Helsinki for the signing of tax information exchange agreements with all the Nordic countries. The name Jersey is of Viking origin, and Jersey was part of Normandy or the land of the Normans. The town of St Helier, our capital, is named after a Saint who had his head cut off by some passing Vikings.
Today, through the signing of tax information exchange agreements we are marking the establishment of a political and business relationship which we believe will be of mutual benefit.
We recognise that in today’s global economy it is important for there to be effective international cooperation. This is why we are fully committed to the principles of information exchange. Through the signing of these tax information exchange agreements we will continue to pursue our good neighbour policy that has been and will continue to be the basis of our approach to international relationships. Evidence of that good neighbour policy if it is needed is also to be found in the support we are extending to the EU Member States in the taxation of savings income.
Our compliance with international standards of financial regulation and anti-money laundering is to be assessed by the IMF starting next week. We are confident that we will get a result that will compare favourably with that obtained by other countries in Europe that have been subject to similar assessments.
In signing these tax information exchange agreements we fully subscribe to the conclusions reached at the conference held in Paris last week which emphasise the importance attached to the adoption by all countries of the international standards of transparency and exchange of information. To reinforce this message we would like to see the Nordic and other OECD countries giving clear recognition of our actions in signing TIEAs in the absence of a level playing field, and taking steps to bring greater pressure on those such as Singapore who have not made the same committment to information exchange.
We see our future as an international finance centre attracting legitimate business from all over the world because of the quality and range of services that we offer. Thereby we will remain complementary to the City of London and other European capital markets to our mutual benefit.
We look forward to continuing discussions with the Nordic countries to examine what measures could be adopted to further enhance and broaden our political and economic relationship including the further alleviation of elements of double taxation, discrimination and other undesired tax barriers and the further extension of the arrangements for information exchange. Through these discussions, and our continued cooperation, we also look forward to a growing recognition that our business activities are making a valuable contribution to the economic well being of Europe generally as well as to our own community.”
Senator Frank Walker