Joseph Stiglitz and Mark Pieth named to committee

The government has pledged to work with the OECD.


American Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, and Mark Pieth, a professor of criminal law the University of Basel, will be part of the independent committee of experts who will review the Panamanian legal and financial industry practices and make recommendations to strengthen transparency.

These are the first two members of the committee which will have between six and eight representatives, to be named. It will be co-chaired by Stiglitz and a local representative, President Juan Carlos Varela announced yesterday.

Varela said that Panama's commitment to transparency of the financial system is "irreversible" and opened the door for talks with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to discuss mechanisms for the exchange of financial information, one of the demands that the countries of the international organization are making of Panama.

"The position of Panama is that we do not want to delay this issue," said the president after participating in a meeting of the Commission for the Defense of International Financial Services, to which representatives of the business associations of the country were invited.

Although Panama pledged last year to the exchange of financial information, one of the proposals of the OECD to combat tax evasion, the country and the international agency have had differences in recent months about the mechanisms to meet that commitment.

OECD has demanded Panama adhere to the Common Report Standard, which has already been approved by more than 90 countries and which will begin to be implemented between 2017 and 2018.

Panama, for its part, aims to develop a bilateral exchange of information with countries to ensure the appropriate use of the shared information.

A representative of one of the OECD member states will arrive in Panama in the next few days to advise the state in reaching an agreement with the international agency.

Minister of Economy and Finance Dulcidio De La Guardia said that "there are costs to doing nothing. The government's view is that the cost of doing nothing is greater than taking action."



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