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France and China reached tax haven compromise with OECD list

Latest update : 2009-04-03

US President Barack Obama was able to find a compromise after a standoff between France and China on the crucial issue of tax havens. France insisted the meeting should endorse a list while China opposed the move, a US official said.

AFP - US President Barack Obama broke a "logjam" inside tense G20 negotiations between France and China on Thursday over the crucial issue of tax havens, a senior US official said.

The G20 crisis talks ended with an agreement that summit participants would take note of a list of non-compliant tax havens to be published by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The official said, on condition of anonymity, that the language was amended as a direct result of Obama's intervention between France, which was adamant the meeting should endorse a list, and China, which opposed the move.

"There was a great deal of back and forth," throughout the meeting, the official said.

According to the US version of events, Obama took French President Nicolas Sarkozy aside to suggest a formulation for compromise language on tax havens in the final communique.

"Sarkozy was objecting to a lack of a list. The Chinese were objecting to the existence of a list," the official said.

Before the international meeting, Sarkozy had earlier threatened to walk out of the talks if they did not satisfy French demands for greater regulation of tax havens.

Obama then took the Chinese delegation, led by President Hu Jintao into a corner of the plenary session room and received agreement on the language, before bringing the two sides together to seal the deal, the official said.

"He called over Mr Sarkozy with translators and sherpas in tow and reached agreement, there was a shaking of hands. The resolution was that the G20 would take note that the OECD had published today a list," the official said.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown asked Obama, on his first appearance on the world stage, to make a final statement in the meeting, the official said.

Date created : 2009-04-02