Doha? Give us country-by-country reporting instead

Posted on

This from Hansard:

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the likely effect on levels of employment in each country in (a) Africa, (b) Latin America and (c) Asia of the completion of the World Trade Organisation Doha Round. [279136]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development (DFID) has not calculated the impact of the completed Doha Development Agenda (DDA) on employment levels. However, one of the most significant impacts of a Doha deal for these continents will be the expected increase in income. A World Bank study gives estimates of annual increases in income as a result of a Doha deal as follows:

    $400 million for Sub-Saharan Africa;

    $7.9 billion for Latin America and the Caribbean;

    $8.1 billion for East and South Asia.

DFID is working to ensure that a final DDA deal delivers on its development mandate.

The world has invested untold political capital in seeking to deliver just $16.4 billion of new income to the combined developing countries of the world (but massively more to the developed world, I suspect). It’s not surprising they’re cynical about the benefits, is it?

And in the meantime transfer mispricing costs them $160 billion a year.

And $255 billion of tax is lost as a result of the use of secrecy jurisdictions by high net worth individuals.

Can there now be any doubt about why Oxfam, Christian Aid, Action Aid, War on Want, CAFOD and many more are saying tax reform is the way forward for developing countries?

Country-by-country reporting is designed to tackle transfer mispricing. Tax officials I have spoken to agree it would be beneficial in doing so. Suppose (and I think this very unlikely) it only stopped 10% of transfer mispricing in developing countries. That would deliver them more than Doha could in terms of net benefit.

That’s why it’s worth demanding.

That’s what the Big 4 and the International Accounting Standards Board are seeking to stop.

Why guys? What’s the problem? Don’t you want the developing countries of the world to benefit from world trade? And if not, why not?

Some might say that’s a provocative question. I just say answer it, because none of them have sought to justify their opposition to date.