I thank the Deputy. My first reaction to the figures he has mentioned is that I do not know about them. I am surprised he found that in OECD documentation because I am always very careful not to quote any figure on a country. I am always clear to say that we do not know the amounts that are at stake. I do not know from where the €3,000 billion the Deputy mentioned comes. Sometimes I refer to one figure, which is the accumulated profit by US multinationals set offshore. That figure, which is available here and there, and is about $2 trillion, $2,000 billion. That is the US figure we are just quoting. The OECD has never given a figure as regards the potential tax gap resulting from either tax avoidance or tax evasion.
The Deputy's first question related to what we can do about the tax havens. Two issues arise. It is good that we do not only focus on the tax issue because the other issue is about transparency and exchange of information. The Deputy probably knows that the OECD has been to the forefront in the fight to improve transparency for the past years, if not decades. Recently, we facilitated the endorsement of exchange of information on request as the standard, which is now endorsed by all countries around the world, with the exception of Lebanon. We created a global forum on transparency and exchange of information and all the jurisdictions that formally qualified as tax havens have joined this global forum. They have committed to implementing the standard on exchange of information and they have started implementing this standard through the negotiation of bilateral agreements. We now have more than 1,000 agreements which have been negotiated versus 40 between 2000 and 2008. That is major progress. As we reported to the G20 a few days ago, we are now moving towards automatic exchange of information being a way to exchange financial information such as bank account balance, interest, dividends, sales proceeds and life insurance products on an automatic basis along the lines of what the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, FATCA, has provided.
I understand that Ireland has already signed a FATCA intergovernmental agreement with the US. That is what we are doing with what are now called tax jurisdictions. The next layer of pressure will be to get them signed up to an automatic exchange of information.
As regards their role, we are not trying to tackle countries or impede their sovereign jurisdictions. As the Chairman indicated, a number of them are UK overseas territories or Crown dependencies. Those two categories are included in UK law. Therefore it is not to impede sovereignty but rather to neutralise the schemes which would use them. In other words, instead of telling jurisdictions with no direct tax - and there are a number of them, in the Caribbean in particular - that they should have taxes, the action plan will try to neutralise the use of these jurisdictions to locate profits there artificially so that those profits are not taxed where they accrue - either in the source countries where the activities are deployed or in the residence countries where the companies' headquarters are located and financing is taking place.
We invoke these jurisdictions and push them to implement transparency standards and exchange information. This is being reviewed by the global forum. As regards tax avoidance or the BEST project, it is neutralising the schemes rather than getting jurisdictions to change their legislation, unless they are engaged in harmful tax practices.
I do not have much to say about what Chairman Kemp is proposing in the US, except that clearly one aspect of his proposal in the draft bill is entitled "Base Erosion". This clearly goes in the direction of what the international community has agreed with the action plan.