G20 Finance Ministers' and Central Bank Governors' Meeting, 14-15 April 2016: OECD’s Secretary-General’s Activity Report
Discussions at this meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors were dominated by the situation of the global economy. They focussed on global growth, which remains stubbornly slow, and the need to enhance G20 action on tax and beneficial ownership transparency.
The global economy
Ministers welcomed the rebound in financial markets since their February 2016 meeting in Shanghai. They noted, however, that growth remains disappointingly slow and risks tilting to the downside. They regretted the systematic downgrades of growth prospects after meeting of G20 Finance Ministers, in Shanghai in April.
Ministers also recognised the over-reliance on monetary policy and the need for a three-pronged approach to kick-start growth - combining monetary policy, action on the fiscal front to boost demand and ambitious and vigorous structural reforms. This approach was underscored by the OECD’s Secretary-General’s during his intervention on the global economy and growth framework. Read his full remarks.
Ministers restated their commitment to using all policy tools – monetary, fiscal and structural – individually and collectively to foster confidence and strengthen growth. The Canadian Minister of Finance, in his capacity of co-chair of the G20 Framework working group, welcomed the contributions of the OECD, jointly with the IMF, to the development of the G20 guiding principles and priorities for structural reforms.
G20 action on tax and beneficial ownership transparency
Discussions also centred on the G20 tax agenda and the need to enhance transparency in tax matters and the disclosure of beneficial ownership, in response to the discussion around the “Panama Papers”.
G5 countries (Germany, Spain, Italy, France, the UK) made a strong case for the swift and rigorous implementation of the automatic exchange of tax and of beneficial ownership information. In a letter delivered in April 2016, G5 Ministries of Finance had suggested to their G20 counterparts that the OECD, jointly with the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), be mandated to develop a new global standard for such an exchange of information and a new international standard for registries of beneficial ownership information and their interlinking. Read the full letter.
To assist the G20 tax agenda, the OECD’s Secretary-General proposed a 6 point approach:
- Countries and jurisdictions which have not yet done so commit to the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) without delay and sign The Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters;
- All countries and jurisdictions must ensure they are “largely compliant” on the Exchange of Information ‘on request’ standard set by the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information (the Global Forum) by the G20 Summit in 2017;
- An update on the implementation of the CRS by countries and jurisdictions to be provided by the Global Forum, with a plan to address any gaps identified;
- Ensure that reliable beneficial ownership information is available, and address the role of professional enablers in facilitating tax and other financial crimes;
- Possibly use tougher incentives for those jurisdictions that are failing to meet their commitments to the tax transparency standards;
- Ensure developing countries can continue to fully participate in and take advantage of the new transparent environment, by joining the Global Forum and benefitting from technical assistance.
During the meeting, the OECD’s Secretary-General also intervened on investment and infrastructure, touching on the finding of the latest OECD Survey of Large Pension Funds and Public Pension Reserve Funds. Read his full remarks.
Finally, G20 Finance Ministers mandated the OECD to work with G20 countries to establish objective criteria by July 2016 to identify non-cooperative jurisdictions with respect to tax transparency. They also asked the FATF and the Global Forum to make initial proposals by October 2016 on ways to improve the implementation of the international standards on transparency, including on the availability of beneficial ownership information, and its international exchange.
Ministers called on the IMF, OECD, FSB, and the World Bank Group to support FATF in addressing the challenges of terrorist financing by adding their own analysis, within their respective areas of expertise, of the sources, techniques and channels of illicit financial flows.
Going forward, the OECD has been asked to deliver progress reports on:
- Structural reforms -tracking the commitments, assessing progress towards the 2% target, providing technical support on the enhanced structural reform agenda;
- Investment and trade - to inform revised G20 growth strategies;
- The priorities of 2016 G20 investment agenda and the development of an assessment methodology of the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance; and
- To ensure the effective implementation of technical assistance programs in the area of tax.
Related OECD reports presented to the G20:
OECD Secretary-General’s Report to G20 Finance Ministers - April 2016
OECD Annual Survey of Large Pension Funds and Public Pension Reserve Funds - 2015
G20/OECD Progress Report on Diversification of Financial Instruments and Related Guidance - March 2016
OECD Note on Structural reform priorities for the G-20 - April 2016
Find out more:
OECD work for the G20
Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF)
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes