Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said the conclusions adopted at the recent European Council meeting on the revised Savings Tax Directive have enabled "a green light from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg."
He expressed his satisfaction that all 28 European Union (EU) member states reached an agreement at the latest European Council meeting in Brussels, and said Luxembourg wants to have "a transparent banking center."
Bettel underlined the importance of the European Commission's assurance that it will continue negotiating with European third countries to establish equivalent measures, with the aim of reaching a conclusion by the end of the year.
The EU 28 formally adopted the revised Savings Tax Directive on March 24, 2014. The Directive aims to clamp down on cross-border tax evasion through the automatic exchange of information (AEI). The scope of the Directive is extended to investment funds, pensions, and innovative financial instruments, closing existing loopholes.
Luxembourg and Austria had made their support for the new deal conditional on accelerated negotiations with third countries, such as Switzerland, to create a level playing field.
Taking note of the European Council's agreement to extend the scope of the Directive, the Luxembourg Bankers' Association (ABBL) stated:
"We welcome the current efforts to establish the automatic exchange of information as a global standard. The approved amendments to the Savings Directive merely represent an intermediary step in this on-going process."
"Luxembourg banks have been actively preparing for the introduction of the automatic exchange of information at least since 2009, when Luxembourg agreed to introduce the exchange of information on demand in its double taxation treaties."
It continued: "In the interest of the EU wealth management industry, the ABBL would like to reiterate its call for a level playing field regarding the implementation of the AEI. We therefore urge the European Commission to continue its efforts and to move forward swiftly in order to ensure that concerned non-EU countries continue to apply measures equivalent to those in the EU. In this context, we welcome Prime Minister Bettel's announcement that Luxembourg received guarantees that the EU Commission's negotiations with these countries would be concluded by the end of the year."
"We also call on authorities to ensure that a single, consistent, and coherent framework for the automatic exchange of information is put in place. EU and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) approaches must be aligned in order to avoid a costly and burdensome proliferation of different AEI standards and deadlines of entry into force. We join our colleagues of the European Banking Federation by insisting on streamlined AEI standards, whose costs and administrative burdens are bearable for the financial industry and that are manageable from a day-to-day operational point of view.".
Treaty Update: Spain - Finland
According to preliminary media reports, Spain's Cabinet on October 6, 2017, approved the signing of a DTA and accompanying Protocol with Finland.
Treaty Update: Russia - Japan
Russia and Japan signed a DTA on September 7, 2017.
Treaty Update: Isle of Man - Turkey
A new TIEA between the Isle of Man and Turkey entered into force on October 7, 2017.
Treaty Update: United Kingdom - Belarus
The United Kingdom and Belarus signed a DTA on September 26, 2017.
Treaty Update: Morocco - Togo
According to preliminary reports, Morocco intends to launch DTA negotiations with Togo.
Treaty Update: Morocco - Bahrain
Morocco on September 21, 2017, published a notice in its Official Gazette to ratify and bring into effect the DTA Protocol signed with Bahrain in April 2016.
Treaty Update: Luxembourg - Sri Lanka
At a meeting on September 27, 2017, Luxembourg and Sri Lanka committed to expediting the negotiation of a Protocol to their double tax agreement.
Treaty Update: Burkina Faso - Turkey
Burkina Faso and Turkey initialed a DTA at the conclusion of three-day negotiations on September 22, 2017.
Treaty Update: Kuwait - Turkey
Kuwait and Turkey signed a DTA Protocol on September 15, 2017.
Treaty Update: South Africa - Cameroon
An order to bring into force South Africa's DTA with Cameroon was published in the nation's Official Gazette on September 1, 2017.
Treaty Update: Paraguay - Uruguay
Paraguay and Uruguay signed a DTA on September 8, 2017.
Treaty Update: Spain - Paraguay
According to preliminary media reports, Spain and Paraguay are to relaunch DTA negotiations.
Treaty Update: Liechtenstein - Monaco
Liechtenstein's Government has approved a double taxation agreement with Monaco, according to an August 23 announcement.
Treaty Update: South Africa - Cameroon
South Africa on September 1 confirmed that a new DTA with Cameroon entered into force on July 13, 2017.
Treaty Update: Thailand - Cambodia
Thailand and Cambodia signed a DTA on September 7, 2017.
Treaty Update: Brazil - Paraguay
Brazil and Paraguay agreed on the need to negotiate a DTA at a high-level meeting on August 21, 2017.
Treaty Update: Estonia - Japan
According to preliminary media reports, Estonia on August 24, 2017, approved the signing of a DTA with Japan.
Treaty Update: Switzerland - Zambia
Switzerland and Zambia signed a DTA on August 29, 2017.
Treaty Update: Hong Kong - Saudi Arabia
Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia signed a DTA on August 24, 2017.
Treaty Update: New Zealand - China
New Zealand and China held a second round of DTA negotiations on August 14.
Treaty Update: New Zealand - India
New Zealand is taking the necessary steps to bring its new DTA Protocol with India into effect, the Government said.
Treaty Update: Croatia - United Arab Emirates
Croatia and the United Arab Emirates signed a DTA on July 13, 2017.
Treaty Update: Canada - Grenada
Canada and Grenada signed a TIEA on July 14, 2017.
Treaty Update: United Arab Emirates - Cameroon
The United Arab Emirates and Cameroon signed a DTA on July 16, 2017.
Treaty Update: Grenada - Canada
Grenada announced the signing of a TIEA with Canada on July 17, 2017.