Monday, 21 September 2009

Sign-on letter to G20 on an international capital transaction tax

Dozens of civil society organisations from across the world are urging the Heads of State and Government of the G20 meeting this week in Pittsburgh to take steps towards the implementation of an International Financial Transaction Tax. In an open letter the NGOs say:

“Such a tax would be levied on all cross border financial transactions including currencies, equities and all kinds of derivatives. Even with a low rate of 0.05% such a tax could generate an annual income of tens of billions dollars.
This revenue could be used to pay for the cost of the crisis in the North, in particular the heavy burden of public debt, which has been accumulated to rescue the financial system. As well, to assist countries in the South to meet their development objectives, which have been thrown off track by the crisis. We are sure you agree that it is unacceptable for citizens in both the North and South to pay for the damage caused by the finance industry. Those who have benefited so much from the way in which the system has worked ought to be obliged to take responsibility for their actions. This tax is a measure of political fairness and social justice.
Furthermore, such a tax would contribute to a reduction in speculation, which was at the heart of the collapse of the financial system. The tax would thus enhance financial stability and prevent the finance industry from continuing with a ‘business as usual’ approach.
Around the world national financial transaction taxes (FTTS) are commonplace on shares and bonds. Since these transactions are electronic, they are simple and inexpensive to implement. Payment of an International Financial Transaction Tax would thus be automatic with no scope for avoidance, even in off-shore centres. It could, in fact, be introduced unilaterally by those countries wishing to see it implemented; although it would be preferable that all major economies participate.”

A measure of this type has recently gained considerable support from the German finance Minister, Mr Steinbr├╝ck and his colleague in the Foreign Office, Mr Steinmeier. Two weeks ago the head of the British Financial Services Authority proposed a tax on financial transactions to prevent excessive profiteering by banks. Governments in Europe and South America already have experience of specific FTTs, and parliaments in France, Belgium, Canada and Finland have considered implementing a tax on foreign exchange transactions. In 2005, at the United Nations 115 countries voted to explore the potential of taxing cross-border currency transactions.

For further information on the initiative go to >>>

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