18th September 2009-
A few days ahead of the G20 Summit due to be held at the end of the month in Pittsburgh (USA), Monaco already satisfies the necessary international criteria to be included on the “white” list.
During a press conference held this morning at the Ministry of State, H.E. Franck Biancheri, Minister Plenipotentiary, Government Counsellor for External Relations and for International Economic and Financial Affairs, spoke at length of the progress made by Monaco to respect its commitment to conform with OECD norms with regards to tax, thus following the path defined by H.S.H. Prince Albert II.
A new step for Monaco’s future
“Monaco is today in a position to fulfil the international criteria that should enable our country to be included on the white list1. Even as I address you now, the Principality has already entered into negotiations with 16 countries: 12 agreements have been signed and 4 have been initialled2” announced Franck Biancheri. “It is an important step in our contemporary history but, in reality, the decisions for harmonisation that we have just taken represent the perfection of a policy that the Prince wished to see implemented right from His accession. This is the path that He intended for our Principality. It is the reason for all of the efforts of our administration vis-à-vis the international bodies. We have fulfilled this objective because an international movement towards greater transparency and cooperation has been affirmed since April of this year when the G20 Summit was held in London.”
The agreements concerned
Two types of agreement are covered by these negotiations:
- Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) which foresees the means of information exchange, upon demand and on a case by case basis, between tax authorities in the signatory states. Its field of application is strictly limited to that sector.
- Double Taxation Agreement (DTA), or convention of non-double taxation, which is an agreement of wider scope than the TIEA in that its goal is to tighten economic and financial ties between the two countries that it brings together with tax measures aiming at eliminating double taxation, in addition to the exchange of information between tax authorities.
It is important to point out that the negotiations carried out in this vein over the past several weeks by the Government Counsellor for External Relations have led to specific agreements being reached with each of the countries concerned: “Even if Article 26 of the OECD model is applicable in all cases, special measures were able to be considered with each of the countries concerned,” added Franck Biancheri.
The countries concerned
Monaco’s objective is two-fold: to be withdrawn from the grey list and to handle requests received. Since the OECD has fixed precise rules (a minimum of 12 agreements), these conditions need to be met “prior to the G20 Summit and the FATF meeting3, we should process the approximately twenty requests that we have received since we announced our commitment to the procedure. For us, as for the international community, there are no small and no large countries. All agreements are important: these rules are useful and they are fair. They are necessary conditions to enable a more regulated and a more transparent world to emerge”, explained H.E. Biancheri.
Reinforcing Monaco’s assets
“I do not want to make things seem better than they really are. I know that some people are worried. But our economy is healthy and strong. Our financial market is respected and attractive. Our companies are dynamic and inventive, led by intelligent and courageous entrepreneurs. Monaco boasts the necessary assets that are based on the 3 key principles of quality, enlightenment and innovation. Without a doubt the signing of these new agreements will reinforce the assets of our economy and our companies. There is no denying that following this path to see our country taken off the grey list will relieve our financial market and businesses from a loss in image and reinforce our international relationships”, continued the Head of Monegasque diplomacy.
In this vein Franck Biancheri also emphasised the wish of the Government to use the “post-signing” period as a time for public communication and information. The Government is prepared to “listen, inform and support the banking community, notaries, lawyers, tax advisors, legal advisors and any other professionals who wish to receive support”.
Monegasque diplomacy welcomed
The Monegasque authorities would like to see the withdrawal of Monaco from the “grey list” officialised by the OECD as soon as possible. This would enable the Principality to make itself heard on the international stage, even more so than in the past.
The Monegasque diplomatic and consular corps has thus been proactive in the success of the negotiations. “Without the support of our Ambassadors and Consuls across the globe, without their high quality contact network and the technical support from my team here in Monaco, we would not have achieved the same results. I would like to thank each and every one of them. To be able to count on that know-how is the proof that the Government has been able to adapt its structures and workings to the current state of international affairs”.
To conclude, Franck Biancheri announced other agreement signings, notably speaking of “very advanced contact” with Germany.
For more information, please contact the Department of Foreign Affairs.
1. To be withdrawn from the grey list, Monaco is required to sign twelve bilateral tax cooperation agreements. Once signed, these texts will be integrated into Monaco’s national legislation by Sovereign Decree, complemented, where applicable, by arrangements for their practical enforcement.
2. The 12 agreements: Andorra, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, France, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Qatar, Samoa, San Marino,
St Kitts and USA.
3. Plenary Meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is scheduled for 12th – 16th October 2009 in Paris (ww.fatf-gafi.org)
The 4 initialled agreements: Greenland, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway.