Havens like Switzerland will be shunned: Sarkozy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned on Friday that tax havens will be shunned by the international community, naming countries including Switzerland he said had not done enough to end banking secrecy.

Havens like Switzerland will be shunned: Sarkozy
Kenji-Baptiste Oikawa (File)

“We don’t want any more tax havens. Our message is clear,” Sarkozy said at the end of the G20 summit in Cannes.

Sarkozy named 11 countries that fail to meet transparency standards: Antigua, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Panama, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Vanuata, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

“Countries that remain tax havens … will be shunned by the international community,” he warned.

The G20 will publish an updated list of uncooperative tax havens at each summit from henceforth, he added.

Sarkozy also expressed hopes that a financial transaction tax could be put in place in European Union countries as soon as 2012,   European Commission proposals for such a tax will be considered by member countries at the beginning of 2012, said Sarkozy, promising that France “will battle” that they be implemented by end of next year.

Noting that France “was alone when it started the battle” for the tax, Sarkozy pointed out that other countries, including Germany, Spain, Argentina and South Africa now agree to the proposed levy.

France has been pushing for a small tax on financial transactions as a mechanism to force markets to help pay for government efforts to rescue debt-riden economies.

However, the scheme has run into opposition from the United States, Canada, Russia, Australia and China — although Sarkozy indicated following talks with President Barack Obama that US objections were softening.

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