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Ataques de la OCDE a la economía de Panamá, (Entrevista en Crítica Libre)

To Eduardo Morgan Jr.

By Journalist Aet Tejera

March 27, 2009

1- Do you think that the G-20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries are coming after Panama?

Panama is a serious country and with a very respected financial center. We are not a tax haven and therefore we should not have any fear about the OECD. Our shield is the United States which is indeed a Tax Haven and does not furnish information about deposits at their banks to any country. As long as the United States, which is the competitor of our Center, does not furnish information, they have no grounds to demand that we do it. This, I repeat, is our main defense.

2- What aspects would Panama have to sacrifice in tax matters to prevent continuing being included in the Black List?

We do not have to sacrifice anything but to apply our retaliation law, and our Government should speak up loud and clear that we are not a tax haven and point out those that are.

3- How would it affect Panama to give in in tax aspects?

It would be the ruin of the Services Center, which is the foundation of Panama’s economy. Only the banking center has more than 17 thousand jobs, but it is, also, the core of many of the economic activities. For example, if the banking center is affected, the 30 thousand jobs from the Free Zone are affected, construction is affected, our aerial hub at Tocumen is affected, as are many other activities. Remember that services represent more than 80% of our economy.

4- Besides the OECD, President Obama is an enemy of the tax haven type jurisdictions, what is your opinion regarding this?

I think that President Obama is misinformed. I would like to know if he is not aware of the fact that the United States is the greatest Tax Haven in the world and, additionally, that it is not transparent.

5- What is the reason behind that new pressure from the powers? Is it because they are financially bankrupt and they have to seek funds from wherever?

It is a smoke screen egged on by the OECD, on the face of their great failure to foresee the worldwide financial disaster, which genesis is in the main countries of the OECD. Who would think that Andorra, Cayman, BVI, Panama, etc., are to blame for the quasi-bankruptcy of enormous corporations such as Citibank, General Motors, etc. It is not true that those countries’ funds are in those they call Tax Havens. The total deposits in Panama amount to 76 thousand million dollars and the losses are accounted for in thousands of millions, or in trillions, as the Americans call them. This is totally ridiculous.

6- If Panama gives in, what other things should it claim to compensate for its sacrifices?

Nothing can compensate the harm to our economy, nor to our country, if we give in. We are a true country and not a little island in the Caribbean, an English, Dutch or American colony.

7- Switzerland and Luxembourg are already making their banking secrecy more flexible on the face of some requests from the United States. What is your opinion about it?

We are not Switzerland nor Luxembourg, and we are not in Europe. Our market is here, in America, and our competitor is Miami. In other words, Miami, please read, the United States, has to give in jointly with us, and together we have to demand that other financial centers also give in. That is what is known as the Level Playing Field.

8- Is it dangerous for Panama to surrender completely? How would it affect us?

If you have any figures, I would appreciate it if you would furnish them to me.

Panama cannot surrender. And the Panamanian people must close ranks to prevent this from happening. It is shameful, to say the least, that with only one month to go before the election of a new Government, the current one has made a mockery of the professional organizations with which it reached a consensus for an appropriate response to the OECD and what is worse, that it wrote its response in the City of Washington.

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