Britain is against the idea put forward by France of including Hong Kong on a tax-haven blacklist, the UK's top financial regulator said on Wednesday.
I don't think we have seen Hong Kong needing to be covered by blacklisting, said Adair Turner, chairman of the UK's Financial Services Authority.
Obviously, it is important we have common standards of not only the regulatory quality, about which there is no doubt at all in relation to Hong Kong, but also agreements on how we deal with tax.
During the recent G20 meeting, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for the inclusion of Hong Kong and Macao from China on the tax haven blacklist.
China actively supports the international community's efforts to tighten financial regulation, crack down on tax evasion and international cooperation to prevent tax evasion, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing. But, he added, it is groundless to label China's Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau as tax havens, to which China expresses firm opposition.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang responded to the idea by saying: We have a very simple tax system. We have a low tax rate. We have a very transparent and very competent and well-respected banking and financial services system. Indeed, our tax rate is low, but that does not mean that we harbor irregularities in our system.
We certainly don't believe in Hong Kong being on any of the blacklists, Turner retorted.
Turner suggested the steady improvement over time of financial standards and the assurance that all parts of the world should meet those standards was a priority seen at the G20.
The blacklist list was published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based group of wealthy nations, in coordination with the G-20. It singled out four countries as the worst offenders: Costa Rica, Malaysia, the Philippines and Uruguay. Another 38 countries and territories, including the Cayman Islands, Panama, Bahamas and Liechtenstein, were listed as less serious offenders.