Caribbean leaders call on Obama not to destroy offshore industry

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Caribbean leaders call on Obama not to destroy offshore industry At the Summit of the Americas, representatives of Caribbean countries have called on America and Britain not to threaten their financial services industry during difficult economic times.

The prime minister of Belize, and chairman of the Caribbean Community and Common Market, Dean Barrow stressed the importance of financial services to the well-being of Caribbean nations, many of which can rely on few other sources of economic growth.

Pointing out that the global financial crisis should not be blamed on Caribbean jurisdictions, the prime minister suggested it would be a mistake to destroy "a critical component of the very service area into which we were encouraged to diversify."

During last month’s G-20 meeting in London, the U.S president was joined by many Western leaders in calling for a crackdown on what they see as tax havens where wealthy citizens can hide their assets.

In a sign that the clampdown may be imminent, the Justice Department asked a federal court earlier this week to allow the IRS to obtain information about taxpayers who use offshore accounts, while Swiss banks have announced they will be scaling down their discreet banking services.

According to Forbes, Obama has said he supports the proposed Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act which would make it harder to hide assets in more than 30 countries including Belize, the Bahamas and Panama.
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