The Island's on-going series of high profile tax deals - the latest struck with France in March - was at the heart of the G20 decision to acknowledge the Island's commitment to international standards of best practice.

Speaking on the eve of the G20 summit of world leaders in London, Jeoffrey Owens, the OECD's Director of Tax Policy, said the Isle of Man was one of thirty jurisdictions that had pledged in 2000 to improve transparency and establish effective information exchange agreements on tax issues.

And on unveiling its decisions on the world's finance centres, Chair of the OECD's Committee on Fiscal Affairs, Gabriel Makhlouf, said he was 'very pleased with the contributions made by the Isle of Man' in furthering tax transparency.

The Isle of Man was one of the first countries to make a clear commitment to OECD standards on tax cooperation in 2000 and was recognised by the Paris based organisation as 'a committed jurisdiction' in 2001. Based on 'mutual economic benefit', TIEAs deliver the OECD's agreed international standard on tax transparency and exchange of information.

The French TIEA was signed at a ceremony in Douglas by the Island's Treasury Minister, Allan Bell, and Eric Woerth, French Secretary of State for the Budget, Public Accounts and Civil Service.

Mr Bell said: 'We are delighted to announce the signing of our fourteenth TIEA, which is a significant milestone in our on-going commitment to international tax cooperation. For nine years the Isle of Man Government has been dedicated to achieving the OECD standard. This latest TIEA is part of our continuing work and mutual cooperation with not only France, but all other countries with which we have agreements.'

France's Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde, said afterwards in a television interview that her own Government had made considerable progress with neighbouring centres. She then went on to refer to France's relations with the Isle of Man and the recent visit by French dignitaries to officially sign the tax information exchange agreement brokered between the two countries.

Also signed at the ceremony was a new agreement to ensure international shipping operations are not subject to taxation both home and abroad. This adds to the Isle of Man's network of shipping tax agreements and will further enhance opportunities for the Island's highly regarded shipping sector. Mr Bell said the Island was at 'advanced stages of negotiation' with several other countries and would continue to strive for effective cooperation based on agreed international standards by signing further tax information agreements.

Of the 51 TIEAs based upon the model agreement developed by the OECD Global Forum Working Group of effective exchange of information - 25% of these have been signed by the Isle of Man.

The OECD recently praised the Isle of Man for the way it had sealed the series of important tax information exchange agreements, including those with leading OECD members. In fact, it was the Isle of Man's helpful and flexible attitude that gained it an influential seat in the OECD's global forum tasked with drawing up the original draft model convention on exchange of tax information.

As a Crown Dependency located at the heart of the British Isles the Isle of Man has always sought to be a 'good corporate neighbour.' And as it has developed as a global player, this approach has been extended to its responsibilities operating on the international stage.

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