Monday, August 11, 2008

BVI International Finance Centre Welcomes IMF's Decision to Halt Tax Haven Discrimination

The BVI Government welcomed recent decision of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stop discrimination between onshore and offshore financial centres. Last month, the IMF has combined its assessment programs for OFCs and FSAP program. In the announcement of this decision, the IMF acknowledged that globalisation has "increased the range of cross-border transactions and intermediation in many countries, as well as by the active efforts of a number of countries to build or promote offshore business."

The British Virgin Islands International Finance Centre, the organization responsible for the marketing and promotion of the BVI financial services industry, welcomed this decision, as creating more level playing field on which financial centres will be judged, based on their regulatory standards rather than geographic location or size.

Information Service of the BVI Government commented that the traditional distinction between onshore and offshore financial centres meant that territories such as the BVI, with significant offshore financial activities, were often regarded as tax havens that support tax evasion, money laundering and other illicit financial activities.

Executive Director of the BVI IFC Mrs. Lorna Smith said: "We have long made the point that it is not a question of onshore or offshore, it is a question of sound or weak regulation and we are delighted that the IMF has recognised this." She also assured that there are strict regulations concerning the operation of the financial sector in the BVI territory.

The BVI IFC is hoping that other international bodies and regulatory organizations will follow the example of the IMF and end this distinction between onshore and offshore jurisdictions.

The IMF also announced about its plans to adopt a more standardised surveillance of the financial sector of economy.

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