Premier Craig Cannonier *File photo
Premier Craig Cannonier *File photo

Bermuda’s Premier Craig Cannonier has taken issue with two Reuters headlines that completely misrepresented Bermuda’s position on the Multilateral Convention Agreement.

With the first article issued at 1:41BST, which declared “Bermuda Premier says UK territories won’t sign tax deal before G8”, Premier Craig Cannonier flatly denies stating that the British Overseas Territories would not sign the Multilateral Convention Agreement prior to the upcoming G8 Meeting in Northern Ireland next week. “After having talks with my counterparts in the Overseas Territories last week regarding the upcoming meeting in London, members are ready to agree that increased sharing of information with international tax authorities is the way forward, but there are varying degrees of concern relating to the Convention; however, none were categorically opposed to it.” said Premier Cannonier. 

The second headline issued at 8:49BST that declared “Bermuda says won't agree UK Territories tax deal before G8”, Mr. Cannonier who is in London this week to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron says: “Bermuda is in active discussions with the UK Government over Bermuda’s concerns with some of the provisions in the proposed Multilateral Convention Agreement and that it is wrong to rule out the possibility of agreement before the G8 as implied by the headlines.”

Mr. Cannonier added: “We support the Multilateral Convention Agreement in principle, but have several concerns relating to costs, security of data and treaty duplication.  These concerns need to be addressed before Bermuda signs up. I will be meeting this weekend with British Prime Minister David Cameron and it is my hope that Bermuda’s concerns will be settled as quickly as possible.”

Press release from Premier Craig Cannonier:

Bermuda supports the Multilateral Convention in Principle

Bermuda welcomes the initiative to conclude a Multilateral Convention Agreement in principle and supports the principles of transparency and exchange of information that the Convention embodies.

However, legitimate reservations exist that must be addressed relating to costs, security of data, treaty duplication prior to signing the document. Bermuda is currently in talks with HM Treasury, in full anticipation that the issues will be ironed out as quickly as possible. 

Today, Premier Craig Cannonier spoke to international media and discussed Bermuda’s strategy relating to international tax and regulatory policy.

“Bermuda has always been a reputable and internationally responsible jurisdiction”, he said.  “Our main industry is Reinsurance and Insurance and our consumption tax regime dates back to the 1800’s, a century before Bermuda became an international financial center.

“For example, 60 to 65% of all our financial activity in Bermuda is in insurance assets covering risks with trading partners, such as in the UK, where Bermuda has a direct and significant role in its economy, producing as many as 100,000 jobs. Bermuda also writes 27% of all European reinsurance, including 40% of all Lloyds Reinsurance.”

Premier Cannonier explained: “Originally Bermuda focused its Tax Treaty strategy around members of the G8, G20, EU, and OECD countries and as a result Bermuda has signed 39 Tax Information Exchange Agreements.

“To date, Bermuda has signed Tax Agreements with 90% of the G20, with the exception of two countries (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation).  Bermuda has tax agreements with 52% of EU member states but we have concluded negotiations with many more EU members. Bermuda also has tax agreements with 76% of OECD member states.

We look forward to our discussions with Prime Minister Cameron on these matters.