Chapter

Foreword

Editor(s):
Michael Keen, and Victor Thuronyi
Published Date:
September 2016
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The topic of this book may sound esoteric. It is not. What is at stake are the economic prospects not only of one of the world’s important economic sectors, the extractive industries, but the prospects for many of the world’s poorest people.

The reason is simple. Revenues from the extractive industries make a critical contribution to the fiscal position of resource-rich countries, including many lower-income countries struggling to find the means to strengthen their infrastructure and protect their vulnerable; much of those revenues come from multinationals; and multinationals are hard to tax in ways that secure reasonable revenue without discouraging investment.

So for many countries a central part of their development agenda involves the international dimension of the tax treatment of multinational enterprises active in the extractive industries. For some, too, the regional and cross-border dimension of projects or policies adds further tax issues. Managing these complex challenges is, for them, key to achieving the robust revenue base and effective institutions needed for sustained growth.

These issues lie at the intersection of two broader topics to which the Fund has devoted considerable attention. The first is the design and implementation of fiscal regimes for the extractive industries. In this, the present book complements two earlier Fund publications, Daniel and others (2010) and Calder (2014). The second is the taxation of multinationals more widely. This has been the focus of much attention in recent years, notably with the G20-OECD project on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), now entering its implementation phase. The Fund itself has long been active in supporting our members in this area, as described in IMF (2013), including through analytical work (such as IMF, 2014). Despite significant progress, however, considerable challenges clearly remain.

In drawing together these two themes, this book draws deeply on the Fund’s extensive technical assistance work with our members. Much of this has been made possible by the generosity of donors contributing to a dedicated trust fund to support our work in the extractive industries – including the preparation of this book. It is a pleasure to thank, for this, the governments of Australia, the European Union, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman and Switzerland.

Addressing the highly technical difficulties raised in the various chapters will require a mix of legal, economic and administrative skills, as well as a detailed understanding of how the extractive industries operate. This book does not provide any simple or single route to success. But it will, I hope, help those seeking to navigate these always difficult, sometimes murky and often stormy waters.

Christine Lagarde

Managing Director, IMF

References

    CalderJack. (2014) Administering Fiscal Regimes for Extractive Industries: A Handbook (Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund).

    DanielPhilpMichaelKeen and CharlesMcPherson eds. (2010) The Taxation of Petroleum and Minerals: Principles Practices and Problems (London, New York: Routledge).

    International Monetary Fund. (2013) Issues in International Taxation and the Role of the IMF (Washington: International Monetary Fund). Available at http://www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2013/062813.pdf

    International Monetary Fund. (2014) Spillovers in International Corporate Taxation. Available at www.imf.org/external/np/pp/eng/2014/050914.pdf

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