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Panama has asked the Group of 20 States (G20) to acknowledge its right to develop its own model for the automatic exchange of information―without involving adverse actions―based on the sovereign right of each country to adopt a position relative to its unique situation―even if such position is not the same as that of the majority of the jurisdictions.
The request made by Panama to the G20 occurred prior to the scheduled meeting of the finance ministers of the G20 to be held February 26-27 in Shanghai. The deputy vice minister of foreign affairs, Farah Diva Urrutia, met with the ambassadors of the G20 countries who are stationed in Panama.
According the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Panama is proposing to develop its own, unique model of information exchange. This model will be based on the condition of reciprocity, protection of the basic guarantees for users of the Panamanian platform of services, mutually beneficial tax agreements, and the existence of a legal framework protecting confidentiality and assuring that the information is used in a proper manner―similar to the FATCA program instituted by the United States.
International organizations such as the G20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have put pressure on Panama to sign a multilateral exchange of information agreement. To date, over 90 countries have committed to exchanging information with each other, but, at the same time, several have not agreed to multilateral, unrestricted exchanges.
Panama’s position on the exchange of information was set forth by Juan Carlos Varela, the President of Panama, at the UN General Assembly last year. President Varela stated that Panama is committed to the exchange of information by means of bilateral (not multilateral) exchanges (with certain conditions), and he reserved its right to choose with whom to negotiate such agreements.