What You May Have Missed This Week…


FRANHENDY ATTORNEYS 

WEEKLY REPORT

TAX

Is Africa now being carved up by a complicated web of offshore accounts, tax havens and tricky paper trails? New research seems to suggest this is exactly what’s going on. Offshore companies connected to 44 of Africa’s 54 countries disturbingly appear in the Panama Papers leak. Over 1,400 companies in the files of offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca have names that indicate mining or resource extraction interests – raising fresh concerns about how tax havens can be used to exploit the natural wealth of the world’s poorest continent…more

EU committee assessing 28 non-EU countries’ tax policies in advance of its tax haven blacklist.EU says New Zealand is not being singled out for investigation as a tax haven, the European Union says. In a statement released today, the EU delegation in Wellington confirmed that a committee was assessing 28 non-EU countries’ tax policies. Media reports that New Zealand was being targeted for investigation as a tax haven were “incorrect and misleading”, the statement said...more
The government of Panama on Tuesday announced a bill that would take a range of steps against countries that put it on their blacklists of “tax havens” in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations. The legislation would impose tax, trade and migration measures on companies or individuals from those countries that “engage in practices that discriminate or imply damage to economic interests” of Panama, a statement said...more
 

 Companies do not have to move their headquarters to low tax countries to evade U.S. taxes. They can accomplish the same objective by shifting their taxable income to low tax jurisdictions. This can be facilitated by abnormally priced transactions with a foreign subsidiary or a colluding partner in a low tax foreign country. A U.S. company or individual can shift taxable income out of the U.S. by importing products from a subsidiary or colluding partner at extremely high prices, thus decreasing its tax obligation and moving money out of the U.S., undetected...more

The total amount of fines handed out to Greek taxpayers with suspected undisclosed foreign assets has reached EUR810m (USD905m) as a result of recent investigations, the Government’s anti-corruption unit has announced. According to a July 29 government press release, Special Financial Prosecutor Panagiotis Athanasiou said that the Government is intensifying efforts to collect back taxes, having boosted the number of tax investigators significantly…more
 

OXFAM has called for action to close a legal loophole that has seen a booming number of Scottish shell firms used for tax dodging and money laundering. The global charity warned that the country was becoming one of the world’s “secret tax havens where the privileged minority hide billions from authorities”… more

TRADE


The UK’s historic popular vote to leave the EU has prompted reflection among a number of analysts on potential impacts on African economies. While many long term political and economic impacts have yet to be determined, Britain’s departure from the bloc has raised questions around how it will now unilaterally define its trade policies with third parties, almost regardless of which “exit model” it pursues.Some experts consider that “Brexit” could have adverse impacts on African economies, in terms of the type of preference schemes the UK may grant, knock-on trade and investment impacts of economic slowdown and tumbling British pound, as well as potential changes in EU policies in light of London’s role in the formulation of international development policy in Brussels. Others, however, are of the view that the vote could actually open a new chapter in UK-Africa economic relations with fresh opportunities for African exports and foreign direct investment inflows, and a more focused and independent approach to development aid. This could, for example, involve a deepening of ties between the 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, which span across Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific...more
 

UN member states meeting in New York from 11-20 July for the fourth annual meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) participated in national voluntary reviews on the implementation of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with these reviews covering 22 countries. The gathering also adopted a ministerial declaration providing recommendations on the theme that “no one is left behind” as work on the SDGs moves ahead…more

How to advance WTO discussions on e-commerce was in the spotlight in Geneva this week, as the permanent missions of Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey, and Australia (MIKTA) held a workshop on the subject on Tuesday at the organisation’s headquarters, with the support of the International Trade Centre (ITC). The MIKTA group was set up nearly three years ago during a ministerial-level meeting in Seoul, with the group outlining a series of shared objectives where, they argued, they could make a contribution in “protecting public goods and strengthening global governance.”...more

  WTO members need to avoid putting up barriers and “get trade moving again” in order to address slow global economic growth, according to the director general’s mid-year report. The Trade Monitoring Report, issued by the World Trade Organization on July 25, concludes that the “best safeguard we have against protectionism is a strong multilateral trading system.”The report shows that 22 new trade-restrictive measures were initiated by WTO members per month between mid-October 2015 and mid-May 2016…more

“Now that years of intensive negotiations have finally cleared all the misunderstandings around Iran’s nuclear activities, we are taking the next step toward integrating more deeply into the global economy. … Finalizing WTO membership is therefore a priority for the Iranian government,” said Industry Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh at a ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Nairobi late last year.Unlike the UN Security Council, in which only the five permanent members wield veto power, any decision at the WTO must be approved by all member states. This means that even the objection of a single state effectively results in a veto...more

INVESTMENT

 Three European lenders have pooled stakes in sub-Saharan African banks to create a $660m investment company. Norwegian development body Norfund, Dutch bank Rabobank and private sector development bank FMO have formed the company — named Arise — by combining investments in financial service providers across more than 20 countries, including Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia.From January 2017, the new company plans to begin operations and allocate new capital for investment in banks that serve retail and SME clients in eastern and southern Africa.Africa’s banking sector is undergoing a fintech revolution driven by mobile payment systems such as Kenya’s M-Pesa, which provide millions of new customers with access to financial services...more

Global investors can’t get enough of Taiwan.Overseas funds poured $5.4 billion into the island’s equities last month, taking inflows for the year to $11.6 billion and making Taiwan the most popular destination for investors among nine Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg. That’s helped send both the benchmark stock gauge and the currency to one-year highs. Fueling gains are bets that the imminent release of Apple Inc.’s iPhone 7 will boost profits at Taiwan suppliers and relief that the new political era under President Tsai Ing-wen hasn’t led to a conspicuous deterioration in ties with China…more

Jersey, an international hub for the private funds industry, is now building up its presence in the FinTech space. The island held its first FinTech conference late last year and Mike Jones, of the Jersey Financial Services Commission, recently told participants at the Opalesque Jersey Roundtable that the regulator has beefed up its efforts on cybersecurity in order to ensure that information in these new technologies are protected ..more
 
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FRANHENDY ATTORNEYS is a government and investor relations advisory and transactional legal practice of multi-lingual,  consulting attorneys supported by professional legal researchers.With its global presence, FRANHENDY ATTORNEYS provides bespoke services in the areas of international tax, trade and investment.
 
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