Country Rankings - Labuan
Jun 27, 2013 Labuan: refulgentGoody two-shoes the British Virgin Islands (offshore? moi?) jumped smartly onto the G8 bandwagon, saying that anyway it had been doing all the right things all along. It's pretty easy to say that you agree with everything when nothing was said, which was the case at David Cameron's summer country house party, where they comprehensively failed to agree on anything at all. I'm sure they all had a lovely time doing nothing in the hazy sunshine, and they didn't even have to stay up all night arguing. Shamefully, I don't have any gossip for you; WAGs do get to come along on these affairs, and there is a kind of alternative social program for them, but apart from the anodyne photo shoots outside Harrods you'd need your own spy satellite to have any chance of getting real dope on the goings-on, and you'd end up as a lifelong refugee in a hotel in Hong Kong if you tried. In fact the BVI, along with other ex-Empire specks of rock, had a good week in public perception, with a report from venerable think-tank the Institute of Economic Affairs lauding their contribution to the UK's economy, and calling the Government's attitude "hypocritical," which it certainly is. The usefulness of "tax havens" is exemplified by Labuan (see our feature article in this week's issue) – another ex-British speck of rock which once was a bug-infested coaling station, and now plays a symbiotic role in Malaysian financial growth, and is involved more widely in East Asia. Oh, but how we need another word to describe tax havens, shorn of the accumulated political chaff that sticks to them: IOFCs (International Offshore Financial Centers) made a brave try, but it has the "O" word in it, which disqualifies it. Do you like AFTICs? Ancillary Financial Trading and Investment Centers. They do nothing but grow, anyway, both in number and in scale, despite the mounting wall of hysterical anti-AFTIC propaganda, which says more about the desperate straights of Western finance ministers than it says about the AFTICs. Notice that you never hear the Prime Minister of Malaysia, or for that matter China's leaders, attacking Labuan as an unacceptable excrescence.