NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Commonwealth of The Bahamas signed an Agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany on Assistance in Civil and Criminal Tax Matters through Exchange of Information, Friday, April 9, 2010.

The ceremony took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Foreign Affairs the Hon Brent Symonette signed for The Bahamas and His Excellency Jürgen Engel, Ambassador of Germany signed for that country.

The agreement was the 21 Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) that The Bahamas has concluded – 15 with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member-countries and eight members of the G-20 countries.

“The Government of The Bahamas welcomes the conclusion of this agreement with Germany, a fellow active participant in the ongoing work of the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Tax Information Exchange, as well as in the previous Committee on Level Playing Field Issues,” Mr Symonette said.

“It is manifestly evident from the involvement of both of our governments in the international cooperation work of the UN and the OECD, as well as the conclusion of this TIEA today, that there is mutual commitment to the effective implementation of accepted international standards for financial regulation and cross-border cooperation,” he said.

As The Bahamas continues to adapt to the changing global regulatory environment, Mr Symonette said that the Government is confident the country will continue to grow and prosper as an international business centre.

“This will be accomplished through considered approaches to harmonizing the important foundation blocks of adherence to acceptable standards for regulation of international business while, at the same time, fostering a business environment characterized by certainty of the regulatory framework which is sustainable and can grow within the new global economic order,” he said.

Mr Symonette thanked Ambassador Engel and the German negotiator for their respective roles in enabling the execution of the agreement.

“The Bahamas looks forward to the continued expansion of the cooperative relationship between our two countries,” he said.

Ambassador Engel said he was honoured to sign the agreement on behalf of the Government of Germany.

“It confirms the desire of both countries to have a fair tax competition and to work together on the implementation of the OECD standards on tax issues,” he said.

The ambassador highlighted the active role The Bahamas played for years in the discussions within the OECD framework – being a part of the “Peer Review Group” of 30 countries.

This group’s task is examining the full implementation and the effective application of OECD standards within the framework of the newly structured OECD Global Forum.

Ambassador Engel thanked personnel from the ministries of finance from both countries, stating that “this cooperation has been especially pleasant and an effective one.”