12 mei 2007
"Dutch tax policy is detrimental to international development"
Francis Weyzig, spokesman of the new network, commented to P+: "When discussing international cooperation, we always talk about topics like debt relief or trade liberalisation, but the importance of tax systems is highly underestimated." Francis Weyzig works for the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), and is the co-author of a recent report on the Netherlands as a tax haven. According to this report developing countries miss out an estimated amount of somewhere between 100 million and 1 billion Euro on tax income, because multinational corporations and wealthy citizens of poor countries can profit of Dutch tax regulations. That is why the report states that the Dutch tax policy is inconsistent with the Dutch policy on Official Development Assistance. Francis Weyzig: "In facilitating Foreign Direct Investments, the Netherlands does not take into consideration the negative consequences for other countries. While trying to stimulate its own economy, the Netherlands does not mind disrupting tax incomes of developing countries. This is contradictory to its aim to assist poor countries in their economic development."
The Dutch branch of the international Tax Justice Network consists of seven Dutch NGOs, striving for a fair tax system that benefits developing countries instead of prolonging or deepening their backlog. These NGOs are Oxfam Novib, Oikos, SOMO, Attac, Both Ends, Transnational Institute and Fairfood.
The public debate did not deliver any concrete promises of politicians to try and alter the Dutch tax policy. But Tax Justice NL will continue the debate. According to Francis Weyzig a very welcome first step would be if multinational corporations would be more transparent about their conduct in tax payment: "They are most reluctant to give any openness on how much tax they pay to whom. They say that they follow the rules of the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), but close scrutiny of their annual reports reveals that they don't disclose exact amounts. More transparency is needed to find out who is good or bad."
P+ webtip: Tax Justice