2C: Explanation of Vote - Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations

Explanation of vote - adaptation of 2nd Committee resolution "Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations"

Norway chose to abstain on the resolution as well as on the amendment proposed by the UK.

We place great importance on the topic tabled today and we have therefore engaged constructively with a view to achieving consensus.

My government gives priority to tax cooperation and financial transparency and has high ambitions in our work to fight tax evasion and illicit financial flows. These are central pillars of our development objectives and are at the core of our efforts to fight inequality and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Part of this is national resource mobilization, and taxation of individuals and companies.

Norway recognizes the African group’s proposal as a call to maximize the resources at our disposal and direct them towards sustainable development. The resolution that just was adopted is a clear appeal to reshape the global economic landscape, for the benefit of all. Norway acknowledges that a more inclusive and effective tax cooperation is an integral part of that effort.

We agree with the proponents of this resolution, that the UN has shown its relevance in raising the level of ambition in global tax matters. Important milestones have been achieved in the work of the UN tax Committee - to which Norway is a major donor. Progress has also been made on tax cooperation under the financing for development umbrella. These show the added value of tax discussions also taking place at the UN.

At the same time, this is a sensitive issue. We would have liked to see a broader agreement across geographic and regional lines. This is necessary to ensure that international tax cooperation will be adopted on a global scale and provide benefits for all governments and taxpayers.

The call for an inclusive instrument would have benefited from a closer examination of the option in the adopted resolution, for example through a working group. The UN’s work on this matter should aspire to ensure broad legitimacy and support among the full membership of the United Nations.

A thorough analysis with substantive inputs from all Member States and stakeholders, would in our view also be useful. This would ensure that the UN complements - and does not duplicate - the important work taking place in existing processes.

While we are all eager to see more progress, let us not forget that positive steps have already been taken. Care should be taken to preserve the historic milestones achieved at the OECD/G20.

The OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework Two Pillar Solution represents a fundamental reshaping of the international tax framework, addressing both a shift away from zero-tax and a recognition of the taxing rights of market states. Further, the OECD’s and the Global Forum’s work on information exchange has been crucial to combatting tax evasion and illicit financial flows. Norway continues to be fully invested in the OECD, the Inclusive Framework and the Global Forum’s important work on tax matters.

Going forward, we should build further on what has been achieved in both the UN and the OECD. Our success will hinge on how high we aim and how effectively we collaborate. Norway is ready to work constructively to secure a process that complements, and does not overlap, existing work.

[As Member States we all have a responsibility to ensure complementarity of global processes, rather than parallel competing tracks. We therefor believe it is incumbent on us to foster closer coordination. At the end of the day, we believe the two organisations share common objectives, even though they have different roles to play.

And that achieves our common objective of an inclusive and effective global process on tax cooperation.]