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ALOFI, Niue (February 27, 2002 – Radio New Zealand International)---The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has requested a meeting to discuss Niue’s stance on its offshore financial dealings, Premier Sani Lakatani has announced.

Mr. Lakatani says his financial secretary, Leonard Tukuitonga, will meet with OECD representatives in Auckland tomorrow following Niue's decision to continue with its international business companies, or IBC, operation.

The OECD has given several Pacific countries until tomorrow to comply with its so-called harmful tax initiative and has raised concerns that Niue's IBC registry, which is run out of Panama, could be a shelter for tax evasion.

Mr. Lakatani says Niue is willing to shut down its offshore banking, but not the IBC because it brings in US$ 700,000 of revenue annually and the OECD has not come up with any alternative to replace that money.

Mr. Lakatani says he is concerned about the threat of sanctions from the OECD and he wants to know whether its member countries are also being asked to adhere to its tax initiative.

For additional reports from Radio New Zealand International, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio New Zealand International.



PORT VILA, Vanuatu (February 27, 2002 – Radio Australia)---The Vanuatu Government has told the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development the country will not surrender to demands to reform its taxation and offshore banking legislation.

Vanuatu's finance minister, Joe Carlo, described the OECD's pressure on the issue as "blackmail" and said it reflected the "neo-colonial attitude" of countries such as Britain, France and Germany.

He told the Trading Post newspaper that Vanuatu would not meet any of the guidelines laid down by the OECD's Financial Action Task Force on money laundering.

Mr. Carlo said Vanuatu's finance center and tax haven status were worth several million dollars a year to the government and provided much needed employment.

The OECD has accused Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Niue, Nauru and the Marshall Islands, as well as a number of Caribbean island nations, of engaging in harmful tax practices that cause loss of revenue to developed nations.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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