June 18 - At the end of the Group of Eight summit in northern Ireland, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the leaders had tackled tax, trade and transparency. Joanna Partridge reports the leaders' declaration states that tax authorities across the world should now automatically share information and companies should know who owns them.
The three Ts were high on the G8's agenda - trade, tax and transparency. The leaders represent just over half a near $72 trillion dollar global economy. British Prime Minister David Cameron says they made progress in all three areas. SOUNDBITE: David Cameron, British Prime Minister, saying (English): "We launched negotiations on the biggest bilateral trade deal in history, we agreed a Lough Erne declaration that has the potential to rewrite the rules on tax and transparency, for the benefit of countries right across the world, including the poorest countries in the world." All the leaders are facing economic challenges at home. They urged Japan to press ahead with reforms to tackle its budget deficit. And the euro zone to work on its banking union. But the biggest topic for summit chair Britain was taxation. Cameron has been stung by revelations that big multinationals like Starbucks and Google have cut their corporate tax bills in Britain using legal loopholes. He's announced new domestic rules to combat tax evasion - by forcing shadowy shell companies to reveal who really runs them. He insisted the G8 agreement would make a difference. SOUNDBITE: David Cameron, British Prime Minister, saying (English): "Have a look at this declaration, that tax authorities across the world automatically share information, that companies should know who owns them, tax collectors and law enforcers should be able to get this information easily. Extractive companies should report payments to all governments and governments should publish all that information open and clearly." However, for now the U.S. isn't doing any more than pressing for legislation Lawmakers and analysts warn it will take time to fight tax avoidance. Michael Ingram is from BGC Partners. SOUNDBITE: Michael Ingram, Market Strategist, BGC Partners, saying (English): "Many of these tax codes have ballooned over recent years, I'm thinking particularly in jurisdictions such as the U.S., where there are so many exemptions, if you've got smart tax lawyers, if you've got smart accountants, you can avoid paying pretty much any tax at all. I was looking at the numbers last week and the corporate tax take in the U.S. is the lowest since records began in 1947, only one and half percent of GDP." Even though the G8 hasn't come up with firm action to fight tax evasion, it's likely to remain on world leaders' agendas, as long as budget deficits remain high and growth remains low.