Oxfam Tells G20 to Link Tax Havens to Development, Address Transparency at Seoul Summit

November 4th, 2010

Oxfam International has released a new report calling on the G20 to make the connection between secrecy jurisdictions and the harm they do to developing countries.

Section 5 of the report states:

All countries should be able to generate their own income by promoting fair taxation. Yet currently, many countries are constrained in their attempts to raise resources domestically or to apply appropriate tariffs because of problems in the international system.

At the G20 London Summit in 2009, leaders promised to stand together against tax evasion and avoidance. The G20 should honour its commitments to tackle the tax havens that illegally deprive developing countries of desperately needed resources.

Sadly, tax co-operation conventions signed after the London Summit have already proved to be weak. The G20 needs to guarantee that in any monitoring exercise, all information requested on secrecy jurisdictions is made available, and can be shared on a multilateral and automatic exchange basis. The G20 must also take overdue action on transparency,32 by delivering an exhaustive and objective list of noncooperative jurisdictions, backed up with the promised sanctions.

Companies registered within the G20’s own borders continue to use tax havens in illicit and illegal ways to reduce their global tax liabilities. These practices deprive developing countries of around $160bn every year.33 To end these harmful practices, the G20 should agree a global standard against which transnational companies must report their activities in their annual accounts, on a country-by-country basis.

It is fantastic to see a major international development NGO like Oxfam calling on the G20 to address the issue of transparency in the international financial system.

Interested in how you can help? Global Financial Integrity is circulating a petition calling on the G20 do the same thing: promote transparency to fight poverty in the developing world.  You can sign the petition at

The full Oxfam report can be downloaded here.

Written by Clark Gascoigne

Follow @FinTrCo