Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Relations opened up about Ecuador’s relation with tax havens, and expressed the governments distrust in them.
In an interview with TeleSUR, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Guillaume Long spoke loud and clear about the country’s commitment to eradicating tax havens.
He assured that during 2016 and 2017 fighting against tax havens is going to be at the core of Ecuador’s foreign and domestic policy. He is thankful to Rafael Correa, since his decision to take tax disputes into the national Constitutional Court means that he plans to lead with example abroad.
The proposal he took to court would prohibit individuals from occupying public office in Ecuador if its proved that they store funds in tax havens. The implementation of this measure will be decided through a nationwide referendum.
Speaking about it, Minister Long said: “I wish I could take that referendum and propose it as a cure to one of the greatest leeches in the contemporary capitalist system”.
Official government data suggests that Ecuador privates hold some $30 billion in offshore tax havens, which corresponds to nearly 30% of the country’s GDP.
The government’s interest is to draw this funds back into the country, as they argue that they would be of more use in the hands of the state, in order to promote development programs.
Long argued that tax haven bank accounts are a huge obstacle to development, particularly in developing nations, where every penny collected through tax signifies opportunities to develop. Additionally, he mentioned that tax havens perpetrate the cycle of poverty and allow the country’s top earners to concentrate wealth with no commitments.
Throughout his interview, Minister Long did not miss an opportunity to call out on tax havens, directly linking them to criminal activity and arguing that when used for “activities considered legal, then they are clearly immoral”.
“This is a proposal that places Ecuador at the core of global leadership in this matter. We hope is inspires others to do the same and present their own proposals.”
The debate is still open on the matter. Are the Minister Long’s declarations an expression of the will to fight for a fairer distribution of wealth? Or are tax havens a government scapegoat, an institution to blame for all their shortcomings?