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Belize Will Avoid Sanctions, Reassures PM

Monday, February 15, 2010

Belizean Prime Minister, Dean Barrow has announced that the territory will receive recognition as a territory that has substantially-implemented the internationally-agreed standard in tax information exchange before the next Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) forum to be held in Seoul, South Korea, in March.

According to the OECD, Belize had concluded two tax information exchange agreements as of February 10, 2010. The country needs to sign another 10 in order to ensure that it stays off the OECD's and G20's radar.

The OECD's peer review meeting at the Seoul G20 summit will give government leaders an opportunity to discuss progress made by territories towards implementing the OECD standard. It is expected that leaders will come away from the meeting with a draft on sanctions that will be imposed on territories that have failed to increase transparency and offer cooperation.

However, addressing the nation on Belizean television, Barrow stated that the situation would be rectified, and announced that the territory was on its way to complying with the 12 TIEA quota set when the G-20 nations met in April last year. For the time being, Belize remains on the OECD 'grey list' of territories that have "adopted the OECD standard on transparency and tax information exchange but have not yet substantially implemented it."

“Belize is in the process of complying. We have seven additional TIEAs lined up and two more lined up with two of the Dutch speaking Caribbean countries. We are confident that we will meet the threshold and the deadline in order to avoid the imposition of the sanctions,” Barrow said.