DATA FOR DEVELOPMENT: HOW TO LEGALLY CHARACTERIZE DATA?
SOUTH CENTRE’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE eTRADE FOR ALL LEADERSHIP DIALOGUE OF THE UNCTAD eCOMMERCE WEEK 2022
Radical technological changes have always challenged pre-existing legal frameworks as demonstrated, for instance, by the commercialization of computer software independently from hardware and the use of genetic information to develop biotechnological innovations in various areas such as health and agriculture. The emergence of big data is a new and outstanding example of such situations. With the growing digitalization of multiple activities, ranging from education and health to ‘smart farming’ and the supply of the most diverse goods, the production and storage of data have exploded. Individuals, businesses and governments are generating an immense amount of data and this will only continue to grow in the future. Yet, the legal characterization of data is still a matter of considerable divergencies and debate. Policy makers and scholars are still searching for legal approaches suitable to address the complex relationships among producers, processors, controllers and users of data…
South Centre Comments on Amount A: Extractives Exclusion
The South Centre today provided its comments to the OECD Inclusive Framework’s Task Force on Digital Economy (TFDE) on the Amount A: Extractives Exclusion. These rules are part of the overall OECD project on the taxation of the digitalized economy known as Pillar One. They determine the amount of a Multinational Enterprise’s (MNE) profits that will then be partially redistributed to market jurisdictions, which are expected to be largely developing countries.
Extractive Exclusion is of critical importance to developing countries as it is meant to ensure that revenues from natural resources such as mining, oil, gas, etc are excluded from the scope of the tax, known as Amount A.
The Model Rules for Domestic Legislation on Scope are of importance as this affects which Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) will come under the scope of the “digital” tax, known as “Amount A” of Pillar One. In other words, they determine which companies will finally pay the tax.
These comments by the BEPS Monitoring Group (BMG) analyse the draft model rules on nexus and revenue sourcing, released by the OECD Secretariat on 4 February 2022 for public consultation, in the continuing work to address the tax challenges of the digitalised economy by the Task Force on the Digital Economy (TFDE) set up by the G20/OECD Inclusive Framework on BEPS. The BMG is a network of experts on various aspects of international tax, set up by a number of civil society organizations which research and campaign for tax justice including the Global Alliance for Tax Justice, Red de Justicia Fiscal de America Latina y el Caribe, Tax Justice Network, Christian Aid, Action Aid, Oxfam, and Tax Research UK. This report has not been approved in advance by these organizations, which do not necessarily accept every detail or specific point made here, but they support the work of the BMG and endorse its general perspectives. It is based on our previous reports, and has been drafted by Sol Picciotto and Jeffery Kadet, with comments and contributions by Abdul Muheet Chowdhary, Sakshi Rai, Sudarshan Rangan, Attiya Waris and Yansheng Zhu.
The Model Rules for Tax Base Determinations are of importance as this affects the amount of tax revenues that developing countries will finally be able to collect under the so-called “Amount A” of Pillar One.
Direct Monetary Costs of Intellectual Property for Developing Countries
A changing balance for TRIPS?
It is startling that almost no discussion exists on the direct monetary costs for countries of the IP international regulatory framework. Indeed, on top of the inherent costs on ´access´ or ´learning´ abilities, there are some important tangible, measurable, direct monetary costs to countries. These costs are the financial payments that occur simply for the use of intellectual property. These payments are relevant in any discussion on the role of IP in the context of development.
An overview of some findings is presented in this report, with the aim of promoting an assessment and discussion at the WTO and other fora whenever there is a consideration of the impacts of the IP international regulatory framework, notably the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) in individual countries.
The global minimum tax should provide an incentive for developing countries to raise their effective tax rate as close as possible to their statutory tax rates, which are often higher than the 15% rate. The average rate for South Centre and G-77+China Member States is around 25%. In any case it should be at least 15%, since any undertaxed profits would in any case be taxed at that rate by developed countries. Leading OECD countries have already adopted measures to protect their source tax base, which they intend to retain, such as the UK’s diverted profits tax and the US’s base erosion anti-abuse tax. Poorer countries have even more reason to do likewise. They should consider introducing or strengthening measures such as an alternative minimum tax on deemed or book profits, versions of which already exist in many countries. These are compatible with the GloBE rules, and should be regarded as an essential complement, to ensure that it contributes to both fair and effective taxation of MNE profits.
South Centre Comments on Draft Model Rules for Nexus and Revenue Sourcing
The South Centre offers its comments on the Draft Model Rules for Nexus and Revenue Sourcing. As a procedural matter, the extremely rapid pace of discussions is a matter of great concern for developing countries, a matter also raised by the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF). While an urgent solution is needed to the taxation of the digitalization of the economy, this must mean one which incorporates the interests of developing countries.
Outcomes and Recommendations of the FIRST AFRICAN FISCAL POLICY FORUM
South Centre and Coalition for Dialogue on Africa
The Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) and the South Centre co-organized the First African Fiscal Policy Forum on 16 December 2021 with the theme “Inequalities in Taxing Rights”. It was the first of a series of dialogues aimed to bring together key stakeholders from Africa and the Global South on tax matters, to examine the legitimacy of the international tax reform processes and illicit financial flows and the place and role of Africa in the processes. The dialogue discussed contents of the Two-Pillar Solution of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and its implications for African countries. It analyzed other alternatives to the Inclusive Framework, including recommendations of institutions such as the United Nations High-level Panel on Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (UN-FACTI) and Article 12B on Taxation of Automated Digital Services of the UN model Tax Convention. The forum sought to discuss the reasons some countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka did not endorse the Inclusive Framework proposals and made recommendations for African countries.
A New Treaty on Pandemics: Some Key Issues from a Global South Perspective
By Tamara Luciana Bustamante, Josefina del Rosario Lago, Mariana Magliolo, & Lucas Javier Segal, Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Buenos Aires
In view of both the difficulty that negotiations on a possible new treaty will present for States of the Global South and their special needs, this paper aims to contribute by identifying and giving content to certain key issues —though not exhaustive— that should be taken into account by negotiators of a possible new treaty on pandemics or any other instrument on the subject in the future. The selected key issues are addressed through four cross-cutting questions: (i) Why is each issue relevant for the Global South, (ii) where it is currently regulated, (iii) what are the problems it entails, and (iv) how could a new instrument address them.
International Taxation from Global South Perspectives
By Badr Mandri, Sebastien Babou Diasso, and Aaditri Solankii
South Centre (SC) in collaboration with the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS) organized on October 13, 2021, a webinar on the issue of International Taxation from the Global South perspectives.
Tax revenue mobilization plays a key role in financing the economic and social development of countries. When well designed and implemented, tax policy can help developing countries raise revenue and increase their spending, especially in the social sector. Indeed, tax revenue as a share of GDP represent only 15% to 20% in low and middle-income countries, because of obstacles such as the imbalanced and complex international standards designed for developed countries, and the difficulties in collecting taxes in developing countries.
The South Centre welcomes the UN Tax Committee’s invitation of public comments into its draft agenda and four-year work plan. By engaging the public in preparing the work plan, the UN Tax Committee’s work can be more responsive to the needs of developing countries, and of UN Member States as a whole. By stating that “the goal to ensure that the Committee’s agenda is practical and relevant to developing countries and includes the most pressing challenges they face in tax policy and administration” the Committee has shown a laudable intent which is also in line with its mandate, which is to give special attention to developing countries. The South Centre offers its written comments on the three topics on which inputs have been requested. These have been prepared based on consultation with the South Centre’s Member States, which are exclusively developing countries.