Vanuatu: Double Tax Treaties
Other International Agreements
Vanuatu has signed Tax Information Exchange Agreements with Australia, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Greenland, Grenada, Iceland, Ireland, Korea (Republic of), New Zealand, Norway, San Marino and Sweden.
Along with other offshore jurisdictions, and in response to OECD and FATF pressure, Vanuatu has taken measures to control money-laundering. In March, 2002, Australian Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vanuatu for cooperation in the exchange of financial intelligence. "The signing of this agreement is another important step in the establishment of an international network to facilitate the prevention and detection of money laundering and other financial crimes," said Senator Ellison. "Authorities in Australia and Vanuatu have worked together on a number of significant criminal investigations and cooperation between our respective law enforcement agencies has been excellent.
"Australia is very appreciative of Vanuatu's continued efforts to warn other Pacific Island nations about suspicious financial activity identified by the Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit," Senator Ellison said. Senator Ellison said there was increasing evidence to suggest money laundering activities were linked to people smuggling activities, the financing of terrorist activities and organised crime syndicates. "Greater intelligence on money laundering activities is a significant contributor to fighting transnational crimes, including people smuggling," he said.
Under the Memorandum, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Vanuatu Financial Intelligence Unit agree to cooperate with each other in the exchange of information which may assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons suspected or having engaged in money laundering or other serious criminal activity.
Senator Ellison and the Hon Joe Natuman, Vanuatu's Minister of Internal Affairs signed the memorandum in Bali, Indonesia where they were attending the Regional Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime.
Vanuatu entered into an agreement with the United Kingdom for the promotion and protection of their foreign investments in December 2003. Additional investment promotion and protection agreements are currently being developed with the USA, the Peoples Republic of China, Japan, France, Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.
In addition, Vanuatu is a beneficiary country under three important trade agreements: SPARTECA; ACP-EC/LOME IV Convention; and GSP.
Under these agreements, special treatment is afforded to imports from developing companies in the form of a reduction or total waiver of customs duties on a non-reciprocal basis.
The agreements are in operation with 23 donor countries, including: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, United States of America, USSR, and the European Community (EC) which comprises Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. The European Community (EC) applies the Lomé Scheme whilst Australia and New Zealand apply SPARTECA to the South Pacific Island Countries who are members of the South Pacific Forum.