As readers from development agencies will know, a huge and complex process is currently underway to develop a new set of global ordering principles for international development, to replace the Millenium Development Goals, which expire in 2015. Over the weekend I was happy to be able to attend a conference organised by the United Nations Development Programme, which brought together mostly African activists and academics to discuss the thorny question of financing this agenda. It was held at the Pan-African Parliament, a strange place that looks like a high security warehouse just outside of Johannesburg.
Today I’m discussing my PhD research at Oslo University College, at a conference organised by Tax Justice Network Norway. Here’s the presentation. It’s mostly quotes from research papers to stimulate discussion for now – more detail to follow on this blog!
[T]ax administration and tax policy officials in Uganda are not sufficiently trained in the area of tax treaties and international taxation. As a result, Uganda has a weak tax treaty negotiation team that concludes treaties more intensively reflecting the position of the other contracting state.
A first attempt to answer a question that I’ll be coming back to many times. It’s based on an afternoon spent in the library reading The Impact of the OECD and UN Model Conventions on Bilateral Tax Treaties, a very heavy tome that thus far I’ve only been able to cherry pick through.
International tax, the way countries coordinate and negotiate tax rules between themselves, is often talked about as if it’s about finding technical solutions to technical problems. But it’s not. Just as the tax system inside a country is at the absolute core of its political debate, so you can look at international tax and see right to the heart of global political economy. What I love about UN tax committee meetings, such as the one I attended this week, is that you can see this in action.