The Isle of Man's financial position remains buoyant and well placed to ride out the current downturn in the world economy.

This was the message from Treasury Minister Allan Bell to an audience of top decision makers in the City of London.

The Island has produced a quarter century of continuous economic growth, he said. And whilst no leading financial centre was immune from global forces, the Isle of Man was not showing any signs of recession. This was borne out by the renewal of its 'AAA' credit rating by agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's.

Benefit to City investment

Mr Bell was speaking at the Island's City base in London's Cornhill, overlooking the Bank of England. Setting out the Island's cautious and measured approach to building growth, Mr Bell said the Isle of Man had demonstrated its intrinsic value to the City.

An illustration was the extent to which its expertise was used in attracting foreign investment through companies seeking a listing on both AIM and the London Stock Exchange.

The Island had also proved to be a 'good corporate neighbour,' he added, and worked with international organisations to ensure it remained responsible in its international dealings. Banking transparency was a case in point and the Isle of Man had been commended for its approach to this.

'Model jurisdiction'

'Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, has publicly held up the Isle of Man as a model jurisdiction for other's to follow,' Mr Bell pointed out.

The Isle of Man will shortly commence its Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA's) with Germany [now signed]. The Isle of Man already has 12 other agreements in place with other major trading partners. This will mean the Isle of Man can positvely demonstrate that it is open, transparent and cooperates with other developed nations.

The signing of TIEA's leaves the Isle of Man in an extremely strong position regarding it's international standing.'

'Open and transparent'

Mr Bell referred to the Review of Crown Dependencies to be carried out by Michael Foot on behalf of the UK Treasury and said he was confident that this review would show the Isle of Man in a favourable light.

'I'm looking forward to working with officials developing the report,' said Mr Bell, 'as it will show the Island to be a co-operative jurisdiction that is well regulated, open and transparent in its international dealings. I am confident the exercise will provide UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown with the assurance that Crown dependencies are operating to the same standards as our onshore peers in the context of facilitating international finance. And to this end, the review will demonstrate the extent to which the Isle of Man operates to benefit the City of London.'

The Island continues to work extremely hard to protect its international reputation, both as a developed economy and as a respected international business centre, he concluded.

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