Dutch Minister will not end Antillean tax havens

18 May 2010

Dutch Minister will not end Antillean tax havens

SP Member of Parliament Ronald van Raak is urging Jan Kees de Jager, Christian Democrat Finance Minister in the outgoing government, to put an end to the special economic zones on the Dutch Antillean islands of Bonaire and St Eustace. Following a recent referendum on their future constitutional status, the two islands, long part of the colonial possession known as the Dutch Antilles, will become special municipalities of the Netherlands itself. The island of Curaçao, which will become an autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is under pressure from the SP to dismantle its own ten tax havens, but is wary of unfair competition from neighbouring Bonaire. The Dutch government, however, wants to see the special economic zones, within which corporations pay little or no tax, maintained.

Ronald van RaakMajor international oil companies, as well as pornographic websites, on-line gambling firms and websites offering cheap air tickets are amongst those active out of the special economic zones in the Antilles. “Minister De Jager says that he wants to deal with tax havens throughout the world, but is not prepared to put an end to them on his own turf. Research conducted by the SP has shown that companies need pay no taxes within these special economic zones, other than a 2% levy on profits. In the Netherlands, profits are taxed at 25.5%. A letter sent by the Dutch Antillean Finance Minister to the SP states that Curaçao is finally prepared to put an end to its own tax havens, directly after the Netherlands asks Bonaire to do the same. Yet De Jager wants in the case of Bonaire to see the levy on profits abolished completely and replaced by a new tax, one which will probably bring in even less revenue.”

The Netherlands has agreed to write off €1.5 billion in Antillean debt. This should happen, Van Raak argues, only if the islands take steps to provide themselves with sufficient income. "As things stand international corporations pay little to the islands on which they make their profits. It is unprecedented that De Jager, all ears for the international tax lobby, is deaf to the poverty-stricken people of the islands."

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