Wednesday, 13 February 2013

US hammering out details on corporate tax disclosure/EITI?

Today the State Department hosted the first meeting of the US Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Advisory Committee, the "multi-stakeholder group of civil society representatives, extractive sector companies, and federal and state government agencies that will guide implementation of this important transparency initiative in the United States."  From the notice:
The group’s meeting today is hosted by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the senior official leading USEITI in the United States. The State Department represents the United States on the EITI International Board, which is the EITI’s global governance structure. 
Today’s meeting represents an important milestone for the vision President Obama presented in September 2011 when he announced the United States intention to pursue full participation in EITI. This commitment underscores the Administration’s belief that this initiative benefits countries in all regions and at all levels of development. The United States has long supported transparency as a critical component of sound governance in countries’ oil and other extractive industries. Implementing EITI is one of the commitments made by the United States in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, which is an international effort to promote transparent, accountable and open governments.
The EITI international Secretariat posted this transcript of remarks by Secretariat Head Jonas Moberg, excerpt:
...the EITI in the US can contribute towards improved natural resource governance. It can contribute to the rebuilding of trust in offshore activities, towards natural resource governance without corruption and with greater certainty about companies paying the taxes and royalties they should be paying. 
An added bonus for the rest of us is that you send a clear global leadership message, demonstrating a willingness to practice what you preach. This global message is particularly important if we are to work together with the world’s large growing economies on improved natural resource governance. 
37 countries are implementing the EITI, and so you are joining a global community of multi-stakeholder groups that are working on these issues. 
...The interest around the world in what you are doing is considerable. Along the way there are some key decisions that need to be taken: on how the MSG will function, the scope of the reporting, the government and private sector entities that should participate, defining materiality and agreeing how much detailed information should be disclosed. 
I don't have any more info on how the meeting actually went and unfortunately the media doesn't seem at all interested in this movement forward for corporate tax transparency. More's the pity since everyone seems to be getting exercised about corporate tax avoidance and here is one very real and tangible approach being hammered out as we speak even as the industries campaign hard to prevent it coming to fruition.

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