Extending the Network of Agreements for Avoidance of Double Taxation
51. Agreements for the avoidance of double taxation with major economies will help improve the business environment and facilitate flows of trade, investment and talent between Hong Kong and the rest of the world. They help reduce tax burdens on individuals and enterprises and eliminate uncertainties over tax liabilities. They also enhance Hong Kong's position as an international business and financial centre. To this end, I signed the fifth agreement of this kind with Vietnam during my visit there last December.
52. In recent years, our major trading partners have raised the requirements on the exchange of tax information under such agreements. Our existing legislation has not kept pace with this development. To further extend our network of such agreements, we consulted the industry in mid-2008 on liberalising the arrangements for the exchange of tax information. I believe that the business and professional community generally agrees that Hong Kong should align its arrangements for the exchange of tax information with international standards so that we can enter into such agreements with more economies. We plan to put forward relevant legislative proposals by the middle of this year.