Four recent developments are really interesting. They deal with international taxation and new OECD and G20 proposals, ITU and governance of the Internet, and threatened Russian litigation in the WTO over U.S. and European trade sanctions. The thread that connects these four items (global taxation, the Internet governance and political trade sanctions involving export and financial controls is the role of international institutions (the OECD, ITU and the WTO) in promoting global rules in these critical global commerce areas.
… Combatting corporate tax avoidance, especially in its international aspects, is a top policy objective of governments across the globe. The OECD is making surprisingly significant progress. It’s proposing mandatory reporting by multinationals on country-by-country basis of revenues and taxes. The G20 is also active in proposing new rules such as to transfer-pricing. Newer issues remain as to digital and ecommerce. Good start by global institutions to address global issues. “OECD and Corporate Tax Evasion.” Financial Times (Sept. 18, 2014).
… The OECD had made major gains in moving toward a new multilateral tax agreement restricting a firms ability to move profits to an offshore jurisdiction. The proposed provisions include company reporting on a nation-by-nation basis and replacement of many bilateral tax treaties. “Global Tax and OECD.” Wall Street Journal (Sept. 17, 2014).
…. ICANN is under attack again at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). This time the “Balkanization” of the Internet is becoming somewhat more likely. There is a growing reaction against the openness of the Internet in light of the NSA snooping and U.S. technology firms and service providers apparent acquiescence. “Tying Up the Internet.” Financial Times (Sept. 17, 2014).
… Russia threatens to sue in the WTO over U.S. and EU transactions imposed over its action in the Ukraine. This case if it is filed has the potential of being a game-changer for the WTO and global trading system. Would involve the never-litigated ‘Security Exception’ (Article XXI) of the GATT agreement. Long-shot. But would raise great political opposition to the WTO if Russia prevails. “Russia Threatens Law Suit in WTO over Sanctions.” Russia Today (Sept. 13, 2014).