Trade & investment

ICC leads tax certainty discussions at Belt and Road Initiative Forum

  • 26 April 2019

Christian Kaeser, head of the International Chamber of Commerce [ICC]’s Taxation Commission, drew attention to the importance of tax certainty for business at the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Forum.

Last week, as part of the first Conference of the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Forum (BRITACOF), Dr Christian Kaeser, head of ICC’s Taxation Commission and Global Head of Tax at Siemens, discussed the importance of tax certainty for multinational enterprises operating within Belt & Road Initiative jurisdictions.

As the host of the event, the People Republic of China’s State Tax Administration  (STA, formerly SAT) invited member countries, business, and international organisations to participate in discussions on tax initiatives attached to the Belt & Road Initiative. The forum gathered national tax administrators from countries participating in the Belt & Road Initiative, including Italy, the Czech Republic, Iran, Suriname, and Rwanda.

During his keynote presentation on tax certainty, Dr. Kaeser presented many of the findings from ICC’s report on tax challenges relating to the Belt and Road Initiative, which was recently submitted to SAT. “Tax certainty is a fundamental factor in attracting investment and thus inducing economic growth,” stressed Dr Kaeser in his keynote presentation to the forum. “Complicated, inconsistent, and hard-to-apply tax rules create barriers to trade,” he said.

ICC welcomes the opportunity to identify potential tax challenges from the perspective of business for those considering investing in countries associated with the Belt & Road Initiative. In particular, the Belt & Road Initiative provides opportunities to stimulate global economic growth, especially in the area of tax coordination. From Dr. Kaeser’s perspective, tax cooperation among participating members of the Belt & Road Initiative is a welcome development. “To avoid inconsistencies among national governments, more coordination among governments is required,” he said.

Dr Kaeser’s presentation also emphasised the importance of tax administrations being guided by the written rule of law, rather than assessing taxes based on other parameters. By following the rule of law, national tax systems will prevent double taxation, unfair competition, and uncertainty for business.

ICC’s participation in BRITACOF comes at a critical moment for the Belt & Road Initiative, as China convenes heads of state from around the world this week to discuss the project’s progression. As the discussions between policymakers continue, ICC eagerly awaits the outcomes of the forum for business worldwide, especially in the area of tax administration.

Read ICC’s report on tax challenges relating to the Belt & Road Initiative

Learn more about ICC’s Belt and Road Dispute Resolution

Explore ICC’s Taxation Policy for the Digitalised Economy