Monday, January 3, 2011

Random News Generator- Belize

First RNG of the new year. We are taken to Belize today, where they, after having made TIEA's (Tax Information Sharing Agreements) with Australia, Belgium, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom, they have been removed from the blacklists of the OCED and G20.

This is important to Belize because they offer themselves as a tax haven, and being on the blacklist would ruin that economic approach by preventing investors from the first world from putting their money into the country. Coming off the blacklist comes at a price, however; with the TIEA's in place, investors cannot remain anonymous, which for some is part of the appeal of doing business in Belize in the first place.

Which, to bring us full circle, is why the OCED and G20 want Belize to have the TIEA's: to limit the options for those kind of investors as much as possible. Anonymous investors in tax havens normally aren't doing nice things.

Here's the problem, though: TIEA's aren't what you would call 'effective'. The Guardian's Richard Murphy goes into more detail, but suffice to say that you can't ask for anything from prior to when the agreement was made, and come to think of it, you have to ask for information, and asking has more hurdles attached to it than a Freedom of Information Act request about Jimmy Hoffa. As Murphy puts it, "To ask a successful question under the terms of a TIEA means you already have to know the answer." The result: barely anybody asks anybody about anything.

All hat, but very little cattle, so to speak.

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