The prime minister was meeting continued resistance from his Canadian counterpart, Stephen Harper, over critical plans to require countries to reveal the true beneficial owners of shell companies and trusts. The measure is vital to combatting money laundering, fighting tax evasion and turning tax information exchange into something meaningful.
Cameron laid on the diplomatic red carpet for Harper, giving him the rare honour of speaking to both houses of parliament, a visit to the Queen and a lengthy bilateral meeting at Downing Street. But Harper is worried about exposing private Canadian tax affairs and fears complications arising from Canada‘s federal structure.
In a crucial advance for Cameron, a US Treasury spokesman said: “We view the G8 as an important opportunity to make progress on cracking down on criminal and illicit actors who use shell companies to hide their true identities”.
The US Treasury said “Increased transparency including the availability of beneficial information to law enforcement is an essential element of the US broader effort to enhance financial transparency which also includes strengthening customer due dilligence requirements for US financial institutions with respect to beneficial ownership of legal entity account holders”.
The remarks suggest that Barack Obama is not going to support public registries of beneficial ownership, limiting access to tax authorities.
Publicly Obama isn’t going to rattle Congress but privately he appears to be leaning on Cameron who in turn leans on Harper. Wondering why the WH isn’t doing its own leaning? More is going on here.
Interesting to see all the grassroots right wing British Conservatives who much prefer Harper to David Cameron,
I liked this comment:
Harper is – at least to some extent – a climate-sceptic. That is the key point differentiating him from Cameron. He also gives the impression of actually believing in Conservatism rather than being a metropolitan liberal paying lip-service to it in the pursuit of power.
Absolutely – the Blair legacy again. This is exactly how Cameron comes over. And the key, as mentioned above, is to start on the right and move to the centre rather than the other way around. The thing about the right is that it is governed by principles and rhetoric which have to move to the centre and be compromised to be implemented. But try to operate in the centre without those clearly articulated principles and you are directionless. This is Camerons problem in a nutshell.
Tim, interesting article. I dispute the “dull” label that Harper is tagged with though. He is not charming but I am weary of the personality politics cult myself. My take is that Harper is serious and that his job is more important than to him than his need to be liked.
Have you seen this?
Cameron needs to stop kissing Obama’s rear-end and start leading his country instead of begging Canada to roll over to the US demands.
I think that Cameron is an absolute disaster for Britain …. and he seems to be trying to interfere (probably on Obama’s behalf) in the rest of the world. He needs to be sent packing. I am sure that Margaret Thatcher must be rolling in her grave to see Cameron leading her party.
Harper needs respect Canada’s Sovereignty and “Just Say No !” to Fatca.
There is no doubt that the UK is the USA’s pet. Just reading about the 2009 G20 in London where the UK’s version of the NSA spied on delegates from the other countries, setting up fake Internet cafes, intercepting emails, etc.
The end run this coming G8 to get the multilateral agreements via that rather than country by country for FATCA IGA is just another USG tactic to shove its interests and agenda down the throats of sovereign nations who are resisting.
Huzza that Harper is appearing to resist but whether that is real or just part of the propaganda remains to be seen.
I missed this earlier in the week. What a commentary! And it did not come from us. There are a few friends out there…
That was a very good article in the Washington Times. Mr. Rahn really gets it and it’s always great when someone does. I got caught in the disqus web once and won’t go there again but my Washington Times comment would have been …
This is a well researched and measured article and I applaud Mr. Rahn for his effort to present FATCA in its true light. It would be difficult to improve on his piece (it hits all the right spots) and the comments by Clive, Atticus are right on the mark. There is little I could add except to say that I am Canadian (born, raised, educated, employed and retired in Canada) and FATCA affects me. (I’ll not offer any more information than that because it will put up a red flag in the USA’s all-seeing, all-knowing, ever-threatening worldwide spy system known as the NSA). At the root of this FATCA evil is the fact that the USA still clings to citizenship based taxation (CBT). It is the only country in the world that does this except for tiny Eritrea which has a simple 2% diaspora tax and was hypocritically condemned for it by the USA. Sadly, as is too often the case, our Canadian government joined in the condemnation of Eritrea (US poodle that it is). ACA (American Citizens Abroad) has wisely and profusely recommended that the USA switch to residence based taxation (RBT) but they are attempting to turn one heckuva huge ship around there. The USA, wrapped in its flag, entrenched in its exceptionalism and confident in its economic and military might is rarely persuaded by any amount of logic and reason to do the right thing. It’s up to sovereign nations to take a stand against FATCA which is yet another data scoop, an asset grabber and ultimately a tool used to control any US citizen/person who dares to live beyond its borders.
I not terribly optimistic that Harper won’t break down and agree to whatever Cameron is pushing. I think it is likely there will be some type of watering down of whatever the communique is and a pretty good change any mention of FATCA will be taken out.