Opening remarks by John Versantvoort, Head, Office of Anticorruption and Integrity, Asian Development Bank, at the Regional Consultation on BEPS: Addressing the Tax Challenges of Digitalisation: Further developments on the Two-Pillar solution, 25 January 2022

Dear Guests, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
It is a pleasure to welcome you to this consultation on the international agreement to address the tax challenges of a digitalized economy. 
 
Today’s meeting brings together more than 350 participants from over 50 jurisdictions, including almost 300 officials from 40 ADB developing members. 
 
The Asian Development Bank is proud to co-host this event with our partners from the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA), the Pacific Islands Tax Administrators Administration (PITAA), the Study Group on Asian Tax Administration and Research (SGATAR), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
 
In October last year, the BEPS Inclusive Framework achieved one of the most meaningful successes of present-day multilateralism as 137 of its 141 members reached agreement on far-reaching changes to the international tax architecture. 
 
This agreement is expected to reverse years of aggressive tax competition and weakening revenues because of base erosion and profit shifting. Countries around the world are expected to increase tax revenues and, with it, the ability to finance their recovery from the devastating effects of the pandemic, and get their sustainable development goals back on track. 
 
The resulting tax reforms will be critical to improve the well-being of citizens, and protect the poor and vulnerable as we strive for an Asia-Pacific region that is prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.
 
Today we will update you on ongoing technical work for the two-pillar solution set out in the October agreement of BEPS IF members. I will consider today’s session a success if you walk away with a better understanding of the trajectory and the challenges ahead for implementation of the two-pillar solution, and if you will have taken the opportunity to raise questions, concerns and – more generally -  to make your voice heard on how ADB, OECD and other development partners can support the transition towards this new international tax architecture. 
 
As many of you know, ADB is committed to strengthening domestic resource mobilization and international tax cooperation for its member countries. 
 
Currently, 26 out of 46 ADB developing members are not yet members of the BEPS Inclusive Framework or lack sufficient technical expertise and human resources to meaningfully engage with the Inclusive Framework. 
 
Through policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and the coordination of development assistance in the region, ADB will support broader participation of its members at the Inclusive Framework and its close relative, the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. 
 
This is one of the drivers behind the launch of the Asia Pacific Tax hub at ADB’s 54th annual meeting last May. 
 
Co-chairing today’s sessions with me are Duncan Onduru, the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators and Andrew Auerbach from OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration.

Speaker