Welcome and opening statements – PRG meeting

– It gives me great pleasure to welcome each and every one of you to Norway and to the 23rd meeting of the Peer Review Group here in Oslo, the Minister of Finance Siv Jensen said in her opening remarks at the Global Forum on Transparency and Exhange of Information.

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It’s an honour for us to host this important event here in Oslo in these days when the international focus seems to be on transparency and exchange of information.

The international development and focus on transparency and exchange of information the last few months show the importance of this work not only as a tool to ensure correct and fair taxation, but also as a tool to tackle international corruption.

Transparency and exchange of information is crucial in the fight against tax evasion, tax avoidance, including aggressive tax planning, and money laundering.

The work conducted in Global Forum, along with a number of other international organisations, to counteract such illicit and undesired activities globally is of critical importance.

Norway fully supports the work of the Global Forum and has put transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes on the top of our agenda for a number of years now.

The work of the Global Forum and by you here in the PRG is of outmost importance to ensure that the international standard on transparency and exchange of information is implemented consistently and effective in all jurisdictions.

Minister of Finance, Siv Jensen (Photo: Bård Brinchmann Løvvig)

International cooperation and co-ordination is a key factor to combat international tax avoidance and evasion both on a domestic and global level. It is our experience that exchange of information in tax matters, both upon request, spontaneously and automatically is an extremely useful tool in the fight against tax evasion and avoidance. But for transparency and exchange of information to be effective, it is important that the instruments that allow for such international cooperation are in place and that information, when requested, is actually available in the jurisdiction.

The work conducted by the Global Forum and especially by the PRG, to ensure effective exchange of information upon request is therefore of the outmost importance.

The outcome of the Peer Review Processes so far is very encouraging and shows the integrity of the PRG and the Global Forum. This work would not be possible without all of you around the table today and I want to express my appreciation for the work you’re doing in this group.

However, as the last months have shown us, there is still a lot of work to be done, both in the Global Forum and in other fora’s, to continue evolving international co-operation, increased transparency and exchange of information to tackle international corruption and to fight tax evasion and avoidance globally.

With these words, I want to welcome all of you to Oslo and Norway.

I think you have some interesting days with a lot of fruitful discussions before you, but I also hope that you will take the time to enjoy Norway and your stay here in Oslo.

Welcome, and good luck.