A New International Tax System for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Global Growth

Authors: Go Chengdu

2016-07-23

Delivered at the G20 High –Level Tax Symposium Lou Jiwei, Minister of the Finance Ministry of the People’s Republic of China (Chengdu , 23 July 2016 )
Respected G20 Delegates, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Morning! First of all, I would like to extend sincere welcome to all of you attending the G20 High-Level Tax Symposium in the beautiful city of Chengdu.
At present, global economy is at a critical conjuncture. We are shifting from crisis-response to exploring an effective governance system for the long term. Our policy priorities are also moving from cyclical measures to structural adjustments. The impacts of the international financial crisis are still unfolding. The world economy is beleaguered with many serious problems, such as global trade stagnation, increasing financial market volatility and the falling commodity prices. Meanwhile, the paces of economic recovery across countries are uneven, and the reform momentum for international governance system is yet to be strengthened. Under the circumstance, promoting strong, sustainable and balanced growth remains the core agenda of the G20. In recent years, all economies and international organizations have made unremitting efforts to tackle economic crisis by implementing macroeconomic policy. However, the effects of fiscal policy and monetary policy are diminishing and the negative effects are becoming apparent. The deep-rooted reason can be attributed to medium and long-term structural imbalance, total factor productivity slowdown, unequal distribution of income and lack of innovation-driven growth.
To achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth, the key is to advance structural reform, enhance innovation capability and promote social equality. As Chinese President Xi Jinping has pointed out, "In the face of the continuous sluggish global economy, it is vitally important for G20 countries to strengthen policy coordination and response". We should push for a fairer and more rational global governance system, and build an innovative, dynamic, interconnected and inclusive world economy." Concerted efforts are needed to achieve this objective. Therefore, G20 countries should intensify consultation and coordination, forge policy consensus, and guide market expectation. We should make the monetary policy more forward-looking and transparent; enhance the effectiveness of fiscal policy; foster enabling policy environment for key structural reforms, so as to support stronger recovery of world economy.
As an important and integral component of global governance system, tax policy plays a significant role in the coordination of global economic rules, and can be used as an effective tool to promote global economy recovery.
Against the backdrop of economic globalization, the mode of production, the organizational form of enterprises and the international trade structure have all changed dramatically, imposing severe challenges to the existing international tax system. Therefore, the G20 countries may explore a more equal and rational international tax regime, which will promote international coordination and cooperation in taxation, and make greater contribution to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced global economic growth.
Since the international financial crisis, G20 attached great importance to improving global tax governance and positive progress has been made in this regard. First, substantial progress was made in the BEPS Project. In 2013, St. Petersburg Summit reached a consensus on the BEPS project. With efforts made by OECD and related countries over the past two years, the final report was presented and an inclusive implementation framework for the BEPS Project was established, which constituted an important step in the international taxation reform. Second, rapid progress was made in tax transparency and significant results were achieved. 96 countries (regions) have committed to implementing the initiative of Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) by 2017 or at the end of 2018. The scope of signatory countries to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters has expanded. Tax transparency reviews and supervision are being enforced actively. Third, capacity building on taxation for developing countries has been strengthened. Relevant countries and international organizations launched various initiatives and programs in recent years, which received strong support by developed countries and positive response by other developing countries.
At present, G20 countries still have ample opportunities to further strengthen international tax cooperation and coordination. As the major global governance platform, G20 should play a leading role in improving the international tax governance, continuously expanding and deepening international tax coordination and cooperation, and supporting the development of a fair, equal, inclusive and organized international tax new system.
First, closely monitor the global tax development trends. The G20 countries should take a global perspective, and strengthen studies on the strategic, macroscopic and institutional issues in tax areas, while ensuring fiscal safety and sustainable development objectives of member countries. First, continue to promote the implementation of BEPS Projects and exchange of information standards, invite more countries and regions to participate in the inclusive framework, subscribe to the information exchange standards, promote domestic taxation reform and effectively fight against international tax evasion and avoidance. Second, build on the progress made in solving BEPS issues, seek "the largest common divisor" while taking into account various country conditions and different development stages, and further improve international tax system. Third, follow the developments of tax regimes of various economies. We should remain on the top of strategic direction of international tax system, advocate coordinated progress of inter-governmental tax regimes, and create a fair tax environment, so as to promote the strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
Second, deepen the international tax cooperation. Build on the existing tax cooperation mechanism, the G20 countries should consider carrying out global, regional, multilateral and bilateral tax cooperation in larger scopes, at higher levels and in more sophisticated areas. First, eliminate discrimination in tax design and implementation to reduce tax uncertainty. Second, reduce international double taxation and prevent double non-taxation, effectively fight against tax evasion and avoidance, remove obstacle on international trade and investment, so as to jointly establish an open, inclusive, balanced and benefit-sharing tax cooperation framework. The G20 needs to explore how to make better use regional, multilateral and bilateral tax cooperation platforms, exchange on avoiding double taxation and reducing taxation risks, in an effort to eliminate investment impediment, reduce costs for trade, promote regional trade and investment cooperation, and establish equal and win-win partnership.
Third, strengthen tax capacity building. With economic globalization and the development of digital economy, now we are facing a big challenge of capacity building for tax administration, which is especially acute for developing countries. It is very important for developing countries to enhance their tax capacity; it is a matter of significance for balanced growth of the global economy. First, the G20 countries should step up technical tax assistance to developing countries. We welcome all countries and international organizations put forward tax aid initiatives, and call for developing countries to consolidate project resources based on their own needs, so as to increase taxation capacity. Second, developing countries should strengthen their capacity in policy-making and institutional innovation, deeply engage in the process of revision of international tax rules, so as to enhance their voice in the international tax regime, strengthen domestic resource mobilization, and improve people's livelihood. China will establish an International Tax Policy Research Center, as a contribution to tax capacity building for developing countries.
Fourth, apply tax tools rationally. Improving international tax governance and building a fair and efficient international tax system will provide policy opportunities for the strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth. First, we should adhere to the principle of tax neutrality and make the market play a decisive role in the allocation of resources, as well as focusing the tax policy on building a level playing field. We need to promote inclusive economic growth while ensuring sustained fiscal revenue. Second, we should inject new vitality into inclusive growth by designing proper tax policies, better encouraging innovation and fostering the development of new industries and business models. Third, we should improve the transparency, predictability and standardization in the process of tax policy-making and implementation, anchor market expectations, enable free-flow of production factors and facilitate global trade and investment, in order to reignite the traditional growth engine of the global economy.
Fair and efficient international tax system is a staunch guarantee for global economic growth. As the G20 presidency, we proposed co-hosting of the high-level tax symposium with the next presidency Germany and with the support of OECD. We hope Finance Ministries, leaders of International Organizations and guests who are present at this symposium can take this opportunity to discuss and exchange views on tax related issues, learn from each other and share wisdom to improve the global tax governance system.
I wish the symposium a great success.
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