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A new UN convention on tax?

Developing nations are hoping to secure greater power over global tax affairs at a critical United Nations vote in New York. The draft resolution calls on members to agree to lay the groundwork for a new UN convention on tax. This could shift influence from bodies traditionally dominated by rich countries, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), towards the UN, where developing nations have a greater say. Proposed by the group that represents the 54 African Union member states at the UN, the resolution would give the New York-based body the mandate “to monitor, evaluate and decide global tax rules”. However, there has been considerable opposition from some developed nations. Rich western countries have long fought diplomatic battles over which forum should hold sway over countries’ tax affairs. Even if the vote is carried, there is a risk that richer UN members could resist granting the funds needed to staff the initiative. However, campaigners believe it may not be blocked in the same way as previous efforts. The UN secretary general has also committed the resources of his office to support the negotiation process.

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Alastair Tempest

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