Cayman Islands technocrats lobby on Capitol Hill

| 18/10/2017 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Two officials from the Ministry of Financial Services were in Washington DC last month for face-to-face discussions with US politicians and officials on tax and financial services. Meetings were held with advisers and staff for several US senators and representatives who are at the heart of the current US tax reform debate, which has significant implications for Cayman’s financial sector. André Ebanks, the ministry’s senior legislative policy advisor, said he and his colleague, Policy Officer Wilbur Welcome, were well received by Congressional officials.

“Our message appears to be resonating that Cayman is a tax-neutral, well-regulated financial services centre with world-class professional services firms,” Ebanks said in a release from the ministry this week. “This is important for us, because a strong reputation drives business.”

Welcome said the visits were well timed. “One day after our meetings, Congressional leaders released their tax reform framework. We heard in many meetings how important it is for Cayman to continue educating leaders on our strong record of cooperation during this dynamic political period,” he said.

Financial services regulatory reform was an important topic in meetings with staff for key lawmakers, as well as officials from the US State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. Ebanks and Welcome also met with the State Department’s lead contact from the UK Desk.

“Reform – including addressing issues such as beneficial ownership – appears to be a growing interest in the US,” Ebanks added.

US officials were reportedly interested to hear about Cayman’s collection and maintenance of beneficial ownership information, and on the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes report, which rated Cayman on par with countries such as Canada and Germany in terms of international tax cooperation.

At the same time the technocrats were in the US, Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers was in Europe  with Premier Alden McLaughlin for financial services-related meetings in Brussels.

But commenting on the meetings in Washington, she said, “I am looking forward to follow-up meetings with key US stakeholders as soon as possible in the effort to continue strengthening relationships and improving understanding, not just in the US but also in the UK and the EU.”

The minister added, “This dialogue with international counterparts helps to inform policy development and legislation on a broader scale, which in turn informs the development and effectiveness of accepted global financial services regulatory initiatives.”

While on Capital Hill, Ebanks and Welcome spoke with Senate officials working with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Finance Committee Ranking Democrat Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), and  Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri).

In the House of Representatives, they spoke with for Foreign Affairs Policy Director for Gregory Meeks (D-New York) who serves on both the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on Financial Services; Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), the Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee; Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts), the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means (Tax) Committee; and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Missouri), who serves on the Financial Services Committee and is chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

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Category: Finance, Financial Services

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