13 May 2010

Amid OECD pressure, Marshalls signs second tax information exchange treaty

3:14 pm on 13 May 2010

The Marshall Islands and Australia have agreed on a new tax information exchange treaty - the second after Majuro signed one with the United States.

The move is seen as a step to get the Marshall Islands off the grey list of tax havens drawn up by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Our correspondent Giff Johnson says the nation is expected to sign treaties with 11 other countries to meet OECD standards for removal from the tax haven list.

"The tax information exchange treaty is an effort to essentially curtail terrorist financing and money laundering by nations agreeing to exchange financial information. And the key element in all of this is that the OECD requires a minimum of a dozen treaties in order for a country to be considered meeting up to international standards."

Giff Johnson says the Marshall Islands was originally blacklisted by the OECD in the mid-2000s, but after transparency commitments were made by the government, it was shifted to a grey list.