Understanding how lower-income countries participate in global tax negotiations

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Since 2013, the formal structure of global corporate tax policymaking at the OECD has changed. Decisions are no longer made by 37 OECD members, but by 137 countries from all regions and levels of development through the ‘Inclusive Framework’. Official documentation emphasises that all countries participate on an ‘equal footing’, but some participants and observers have emphasised that developing countries in particular face practical obstacles that lead to unequal participation in practice.

At a virtual roundtable event on December 18th, ICTD researchers Martin Hearson and Tovony Randriamanalina presented the findings of a new working paper titled “At the Table, Off the Menu? Assessing the Participation of Lower-Income Countries in Global Tax Negotiations,” co-authored with Rasmus Corlin Christensen. Based on interviews with 48 participants in the Inclusive Framework’s decision-making, the paper offers a typology of mechanisms of lower-income countries’ influence and recommendations for strengthening them.

See the slide presentation of the research here and a summary of the key messages in the Twitter thread below.

The full paper is available in French, as is the 2-page Research in Brief.

The second part of the event featured a discussion with current and former tax negotiators from the Philippines, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, and Jamaica, who reflected on the challenges of taking part in the Inclusive Framework process, and how to support the participation of lower-income countries in the negotiations in order to achieve outcomes that better reflect their needs and priorities.

Watch the event recording below (in English, with some translation):

The panellists were:

  • Amadou Abdoulaye Badiane, Director of Legislation and International Co-operation, Directorate General of Taxes and Customs, Senegal
  • Emmanuel Eze, Manager, Tax Policy and Advisory Department, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria
  • Kim Jacinto-Henares, Senior Advisor, Albright Stonebridge Group, former Commissioner, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Philippines, and member of the UN Tax Committee
  • Marlene Nembhard Parker, Chief Tax Counsel for Legislation, Treaties and International Tax Matters, Tax Administration Jamaica, member of the Inclusive Framework steering group and the UN Tax Committee
  • Nana Akua Amoako Mensah, Legal Officer and Competent Authority for exchange of information, Ghana Revenue Authority

The event was moderated by Stephanie Soong Johnston, editor in chief at Tax Notes Today International, who wrote a piece about the research here, with an additional media article summarising the event published here (subscription required).

Stephanie also interviewed Martin Hearson and Emmanuel Eze for an episode of the Tax Notes Talk Podcast about the inclusiveness of the OECD global tax negotiations. Listen to the podcast or view the transcript of their conversation here (free access).