PUTTING  the rhetoric of  the government spin doctors to one side,  Panama has bowed to French demands on the exchange of  tax information.

YOUR MAN IN PANAMAThe “agreement” was reached after Panama went cap in hand following its reinstatement on a French list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in regard to issues such as the sharing of tax information.The French move came after worldwide revelations of the files of law firm Mossack Fonseca (MF).

While local financial and business circles were quick to protest that the activities of one firm were putting the whole country under a cloud, French authorities were not unaware of the close advisory roles played by the company’s  founders to Panama’s administration, and their reaction was fast. The  April 3  release of  the Panama Papers, was followed 24 hours later with the news from French Finance Ministter Michel Sapin  that Panama was back on his country’s black list.

A phone call from President Juan Carlos  Varela  to President Francoise Hollande  followed  by an announcement that Panama Finance Minister  Dulcidio De La Guardia would visit  the following week further muddied the waters Sapin announced he had prior engagements and Panama would have to wait in the wings.

The meeting, lasting less than an hour, was finally held in Paris on April, 24 three weeks after the MF affair cast its shadows over Panama and President Varela’s much hyped  trip to Japan to ink a deal for the construction and financing of Metro Line 3.

In Paris, Panama agreed to work on making the exchange of tax information with France moreexpeditious, efficient and transparent.

Sapin demanded transparency without restrictions in the exchange and provision of tax information and said Panama also needed to agree to the standards of tax sharing proposed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

He said the exchange of information extends to taxpayers or taxable assets in France, including those that own offshore tax structures.

“This transparency should involve both demands already made, and those in future,” said the government of France in an official note.

France has also requested the revision of the tax information exchange treaty signed with Panama in 2011 to make it more effective and efficient.

Courtesy of NewsRoomPanama