STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. ELIESA TUILOMA, COUNSELLOR, PERMANENT MISSION OF FIJI TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE SPECIAL MEETING ON INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN TAX MATTERS (New York, 29 May 2013)
1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, the Group of 77 wishes to thank you for your efforts in convening this Special Meeting, as mandated by resolution 2012/33. We also wish to acknowledge the Report of the Secretary-General on the 'Further Progress in Strengthening the Work of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters'.
3. The Group of 77 welcomes this opportunity to continue our discussion on the strengthening of institutional arrangements to promote international cooperation in tax matters. We concur with the concerns expressed in the Secretary-General's Report that while there is increasing recognition of the central role of tax systems in development, the fact remains that there is still no global, inclusive norm-setting body for international tax cooperation at the intergovernmental level.
4. The Group of 77 & China reiterates its call to change the status of the Committee of Experts on Tax Matters, transforming it from experts acting in their own capacity, to an intergovernmental universal body of the UN, with experts representing their respective governments. This transformation is necessary and important in order to allow all member States to have an equal say on issues related to tax matters. The role of the United Nations on international cooperation in tax matters is especially important as it is the only true global forum with universal relevance and participation.
5. The G77 & China acknowledges the major achievements of the Committee, namely the revision of the UN Model Double Taxation Convention between Developed and Developing Countries (the UN model), and the approval of the UN Practical Manual on Transfer Pricing for Developing Countries (UN Transfer Pricing Manual), which will be officially launched today. These significant accomplishments have demonstrated a prominent role of the United Nations in the area of international tax cooperation.
6. The Group of 77 supports the Committee's ongoing work on cross-border value added tax issues and its area of focus on strengthening developing countries' capacity development, drawing on the 2011 version of the UN model. It is imperative for developing countries to address these knowledge and skill gaps to efficiently negotiate, interpret and administer tax treaties.
7. Finally, we urge all countries and institutions interested in providing financial assistance to the Committee's activities to make voluntary contributions to the trust fund. This extra-budgetary contribution is necessary to support the work of the Committee, as well as increase the participation of experts from developing countries.