Developing countries take tax talks to the UN

Who makes the rules about international tax? For 60 years the answer has mostly been the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a club of rich countries. The rest of the world thinks that is unfair. Developing countries have long argued for a leading role for the UN, where they hope to have more of a say.

That idea came a step closer on November 23rd, when UN members resolved to begin talks on international tax co-operation. The decision makes no difference to a landmark OECD-led tax deal signed by 137 countries and jurisdictions last year. But it does expose the limitations of the so-called “Inclusive Framework” through which that plan is being implemented. Although non-oecd negotiators are becoming more assertive, winning some concessions, they make up less than a quarter of attendees at working-party meetings. Only half of African countries are participating in the talks. African tax officials complain of being presented with documents in the evening…

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