Leaders of the G8 Agree on Actions for Trade, Tax and Transparency

20 June 2013

The Leaders of the G8 released their Communiqué in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, on 18 June 2013.

The Leaders agreed actions on trade, tax and transparency (“3Ts”) to support growth, prosperity and economic development around the world. The Communiqué recognized that trade is a key engine of global economic growth, and confirmed the Leaders’ commitment to reducing and streamlining bureaucracy at borders by resisting protectionism, concluding trade deals, strengthening the multilateral trading system, and helping developing countries slash barriers to trade, amongst others. 

In the Communiqué, Africa is cited as the next emerging continent. The G8 strongly supports Africa’s own regional integration agenda, which would reduce barriers to trade and continue to unlock the internal potential of Africa. The Leaders also welcomed the contribution of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) for advancing inclusive and resilient growth in Africa. The Communiqué confirmed the Leaders’ commitment to continued support for political and economic reforms in Arab countries in transition, through the Deauville Partnership.

The Communiqué highlights various actions for ensuring tax compliance and promoting greater transparency. In respect of tax compliance, it includes establishing the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities to counter tax evasion and tax avoidance. Concerning transparency, the Leaders agreed to work together towards empowering people to hold governments and companies to account.  

In addition to the “3Ts”, a 4th “T” - terrorism - was also highlighted. In this regard, the Leaders expressed their willingness to offer political and practical support to international organizations to enhance the ability of countries to monitor and control their borders and to tackle illicit trafficking of drugs, people, and protected or endangered wildlife species.

The WCO delivered a letter in February 2013 to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the current G8 President, in order to share the WCO’s initiatives that link to trade promotion, tax compliance, and greater transparency. The letter was acknowledged and well received by the Government of the United Kingdom.

WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya emphasized that “the actions with respect to trade, tax and transparency agreed by the G8 Leaders are directly relevant to the WCO’s Strategic Plan. The WCO Economic Competitiveness Package promotes trade, the WCO Revenue Package ensures tax compliance, and the WCO Organizational Development Package promotes good governance supporting transparency. The Compliance and Enforcement Package tackles illicit trade and contributes to the fight against terrorism. Furthermore, the concrete actions between tax authorities to ensure tax compliance and greater transparency could have implications for the Customs community. The WCO supports the actions to be taken in the various areas, and will seek synergy with the actions implemented by tax authorities, building on ongoing WCO initiatives”.