Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Anthony Van Fossen: Tax Havens and Sovereignty in the Pacific Islands

Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Anthony Van Fossen: Tax Havens and Sovereignty in the Pacific Islands

Article excerpt

Anthony van Fossen

Tax Havens and Sovereignty in the Pacific Islands

University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 2012, pp. 411, $21.

Contrary to popular perceptions, the small island states of the Pacific are not just 'local' economies with international tourist add-ons. As this book explains, they are integrated into global capitalism through their distinctive role as tax havens. Not all are 'offshore financial centres'(OFCs)--to use the more sanitised label--but a surprising number are.

Vanuatu has the most offshore insurers, banks, casinos and tax-free estate businesses. Samoa allows assets held by international companies registered there to be sold without taxes being incurred on profits, dividends, rents or interest. The Cook Island facilitates the formation of trusts that protect assets from seizure by courts or creditors. Other states such as Nauru, Niue, Tonga, the Northern Marianas, Guam, Pulau, Tuvalu and Kiribati also provide tax-advantaged services that facilitate global wealth accumulation. The Marshall Islands is now the third largest nation in the world for shipping registrations, providing a 'flag of convenience' for ship-owners, big and small. …

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