AMCHAM T&T DISMAYED BY POLITICAL WRANGLING OVER CRITICAL FATCA LEGISLATION

PRESS RELEASE

9.12.2016

AMCHAM T&T DISMAYED BY POLITICAL WRANGLING OVER CRITICAL FATCA LEGISLATION

The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad & Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) is deeply disappointed by the continued political wrangling that is contributing to the delay of the passage of the critical legislation governing the implementation of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). While we believe that debate is the trademark of a healthy democracy, we assert that this should not occur at the expense of best interest of the country. Our elected leaders are entrusted by the citizenry to always put country first and to rise above the myopic political tactics that could cripple our financial institutions and be detrimental to our ability to do business with the rest of the world.

AMCHAM T&T has been very vocal on this issue and our views remain unchanged.  We believe that there is no need for a Joint Select Committee to be set up to review the Tax Information Exchange Bill. The minor amendments which may now be desired can be made without going to a JSC, which will unnecessarily delay the passage of the legislation within the timeline which T&T itself provided to the Government of the United States of America.   Non-compliance by the stipulated deadline could pose a major challenge for operations within financial institutions and in turn gravely affect our ability to do business with the rest of the world. This will also adversely affect our trade relationship with the U.S., who is still a major trading partner T&T.

We urge all legislators, in particular the Opposition, to let good sense prevail, and commit to passing the legislation forthwith.  We also take this opportunity to point out that co-operation between the Government and Opposition will be required over the next few months to ensure that our country meets its Caribbean Financial Action Task Force commitments to credibly show that we are committed to fighting money laundering, the financing of terrorism and other financial crimes.

We trust that our elected leaders will put politics aside to ensure that the interests of Trinidad and Tobago come first.

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