The Government of Panama, in partnership with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), today organized a high-level side event at the United Nations titled "Financing, Tax Cooperation and Transparency: A Balancing Act for Developing Countries" featuring Panama's Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Isabel de Saint Malo, Finance Minister Dulcidio de la Guardia, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Amina J. Mohammed, Chief of the ECLAC'S economic division Daniel Titleman, and Director of the OECD's Centre for Tax Policy and Administration Pascal Saint-Amans, reports PR News Wire.
During the event, the Panamanian Vice President highlighted the need to strike a balance that takes into account the different economic characteristics of each country and the need to ensure financial transparency, while protecting the resources that fund Sustainable Development Goals. "Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is widely recognized as a pivotal source of funding for the Addis Ababa Agenda, and developing countries need to have the tools to attract it. Substantial, well-implemented tax incentives can be one of those tools," said Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo during the event. She also emphasized that Panama has met all transparency standards and that the President Varela Administration continues to work relentlessly to comply with international expectations.
Daniel Titleman, Chief of the ECLAC'S economic division, continued to underline the importance of FDI, specifically in developing countries. He stretched the importance of designing effective and specific incentives that enhance FDI with substance and regional cooperation. At the same time, Pascal Saint-Amans, Director, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration of the OECD, said that the implementation of transparent incentives that encourages value creation in transfer of technology and creation of employment, can be a useful tool in financing the SDGs agenda.
"I want to congratulate Panama for the fantastic efforts deployed in regards to tax transparency, including its participation in the Global Forum, the adoption of BEPS, and for its commitment to being an active and engaged global actor in this space," said Director Saint-Amans during his intervention.
Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, emphasized the importance of having an inclusive discussion on tax issues. "Not being members of the OECD, for instance, means developing countries sometimes have difficulty getting their voices heard," Deputy Secretary Mohammed pointed out. She also commented on the need to address transparency issues from a global perspective.
The Panamanian Minister of Economy and Finance, Dulcidio de la Guardia, finalized by saying "Tax incentives are a powerful tool for developing countries, in particular for countries that have limited financial resources. They level the playing field, where all countries can thrive under the same conditions to achieve SDGs."
The event concluded with a discussion of the different challenges faced by different Member States in different regions of the world. The participants all thanked Panama for bringing forward a timely discussion about this crucial matter.