Civil Society Statement: G20: Take Action on FTT

To sign on to this letter, send the name of the organization and country in which it is based by 5PM Washington DC time on November 3rd to Amy Gray:

International Civil Society Statement to the G-20 Leaders Summit in Seoul

We, the undersigned civil society organizations from 32 countries, urge G-20 leaders to make concrete progress towards the introduction of an internationally coordinated financial transactions tax (FTT) at the upcoming summit in Seoul.

Our organizations have long advocated that such taxes are a practical way to generate revenues needed to fill domestic and international financing gaps, discourage the type of short-term financial speculation that has little social value but poses high risks to the economy and serve as a desperately-needed and sustainable source of financing for health and development.  In recent months, the case for an FTT has been strengthened with new inputs from sometimes unexpected sources. Several developments have contributed to building a solid foundation for going beyond discussion of options to implementation:

IMF research commissioned by the G-20 recognizes technical feasibility of FTTs

At the 2009 Summit in Pittsburgh, the G-20 charged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with preparing a report on various financial sector taxation options.  While the IMF report delivered in June 2010 favored an alternative approach (devoting only 3 of its 74 pages to FTTs), it did confirm the administrative feasibility of this option.   A follow-up IMF technical paper has pointed out that most G20 countries have already implemented some form of transaction tax, and offered useful information on how to design the taxes to make them most effective.  The paper also confirmed that such taxes can generate substantial revenues. 

A report by the ‘Leading Group on Innovative Financing’ endorses one form of FTT

In July 2010, a group of international finance experts confirmed the feasibility of taxing financial transactions, with a view to financing international commitments for health and development made to developing countries. The experts had been commissioned to produce a feasibility study for a group of 12 governments -- Germany, UK, Japan, France, Belgium, Korea, Norway, Senegal, Brazil, Spain, Austria and Chile.  These countries are part of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development, comprised of 60 nations (including 75% of G20 member states).  In their report, the experts point to foreign exchange transactions between banks as the easiest option for collecting a solidarity tax. They calculated that an extremely small tax of only 0.005% on such transactions would generate 33 billion USD per year.

European Union and UN High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing consider FTT

Meanwhile, the European Commission is considering the possibility of introducing an FTT at European level, following the support shown by the European Parliament earlier this year. A European Commission report notes that, depending on the rate and coverage, an FTT could potentially generate more than $1 trillion per year.  The FTT is also being addressed by a workstream of the High Level Advisory Group of the UN Secretary General on Climate Change Financing (AGF).  The Group, made up of heads of state, high-level officials from ministries and central banks, and other finance experts, is expected to release a report on climate finance options in late October 2010.

The need for FTTs has grown more urgent

FTTs are one of the few available options that could generate the enormous financial resources required to pay for the continuing costs of the global financial and economic crisis, including reducing the unacceptably high rate of job loss, and to achieve key development, health, education and climate change objectives in developing countries.  Several hundred billion dollars worth of untapped revenue could potentially be harnessed. This new financing is required in addition to official development assistance in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Alternative financial sector taxes as proposed by the IMF would fall far short of the volume required. At the same time, the potential benefit of FTTs to enhance market stability is of equal interest as the world has become more aware of the dangers posed by automated high-frequency trading that increasingly predominates in financial markets.  Even extremely low transactions tax rates would reduce the incentive for such speculative activities. 

At the recent UN Summit on Millennium Development Goals, French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a very welcome vow to press for an international agreement on FTTs during his term as G-20 chair in 2011.  There is, however, no reason to delay. We call for G-20 action on this critical issue to begin in Seoul. 

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC)
European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)
WWF International
Education International (EI)
Global Campaign for Education (GCE)
Feminist Task Force (GCAP)
International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF)
ActionAid International (AAI)
Health Poverty Action
Emmaus International
PLUS, Coalition Internationale Sida
Third World Network (TWN)
Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)
Federación Internacional Fe y Alegría

WEED - Weltwirtschaft, Ökologie & Entwicklung, Germany
Make Poverty History, Canada
Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project, US
Dutch Platform on Sustainable and Solidarity Economy, the Netherlands
Oikos Foundation (Dutch member, Tax Justice Network), the Netherlands
World Development Movement, UK
Both ENDS, the Netherlands
The National Union of Public and General Employees, Canada
War on Want, UK
CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development, France
Norwegian Church Aid, Norway
CRBM, Italy
Service Employees International Union (SEIU), US
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Australia
New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Te Kauae Kaimahi, New Zealand
The International HIV/AIDS Alliance, UK
African Initiatives, UK
Article 12 in Scotland, UK
University and College Union (UCU), UK
Grassroots International, US
Friends of the Earth, US
Bond, UK
Treatment Action Group (TAG), US
General Secretary National Union of Teachers. UK
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society, US
Share The World’s Resources (STWR), UK
Public Citizen, US
Italian General Confederation of Labour, Italy
Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
Health GAP (Global Access Project), US
KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Canada
Victoria AIDS Resource & Community Service Society, Canada
The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Canada
Nationwide Group Staff Union, UK
Friends of the Earth, Sierra Leone
Africa Europe Faith Justice Network, UK
TB Alert, UK   
UNI-Korea Liaison Council, South Korea       
CS de Comisiones Obreras (CS CCOO), Spain
Lokoj Institute, Bangladesh
Instituto del Tercer Mundo, Uruguay
Jubilee, Australia
IBON, Philippines
Trades Union Congress (TUC), UK
KRuHA-People's Coalition for the Right to Water, Indonesia
The National Union of Journalists, UK
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Canada
Halifax Initiative, Canada
ABVV/FGTB,  Belgium
Alliance Sud--the Swiss Coalition of Development Organisations, Switzerland
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, US
Norwegian Forum for Environment and Development, Norway
Aktionsbündnis gegen AIDS, Germany
The International HIV/AIDS Alliance, UK
The Stop AIDS Alliance, Belgium
Spire, the Development Fund's Youth, Norway
Robin Hood Tax Campaign, UK
 Stamp out Poverty, UK
ATTAC, France
Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), England and Wales
International HIV/AIDS Alliance, UK
CNCD-11.11.11, Belgium
World Federalist Movement, Canada
AITEC / IPAM, France
Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID), Indonesia
Global Health Advocates (Avocats pour la Santé dans le monde),  France
ATTAC, Denmark
Lunaria, Italy
ATTAC Québec, Canada
Red Mexicana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC), Mexico
Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos (AMAP), Mexico
Bia´lii, Asesoría e Investigación, A.C, México
The Christian Socialist Movement (CSM), UK
Kepa, Service Centre for Development Cooperation, Finland
Fundación Primero de Mayo (First of May Foundation), Spain
FOCO -Foro Ciudadano de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos, Argentina
Fair, Italy
Grupo Tacuba, A. C., Mexico
Consejo de Investigaciones e Información en Desarrollo CIID, Guatemala
Comisión Independiente de Derechos Humanos de Morelos, Mexico
Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores, Mexico
Pacto por la Soberania Alimentaria Energetica, los derechos de losTrabajadores y las Garantas Constitucionales en Morelos, Mexico
ATTAC, Spain
Movimiento Rural Cristiano de AC, Spain
Asociación de Defensa de la Vida, ADEVI, Perú
Veterinarians Without Borders (VSF), Spain
Fiare Banca Ética de Sabadell, Spain
CNPL, Brazil
ATTAC, Norway
Otros Mundos AC - Amigos de le Tierra (Friends of the Earth), México
German Campaign "Tax Against Poverty", Germany
ATTAC, Germany
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Belgium
Confederación Revolucionaria de Obreros y Campesinos, (CROC), México
ASDE Scouts de España, Spain
Comité Nacional de la Confederación de Trabajadores, México
Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), India
ATTAC- Hellas, Greece
Jubilee Debt Campaign, UK
Grupo de Tecnología Alternativa SC, Mexico
NKOTA-netzwerk, Germany
Mujer y Medio Ambiente AC, Mexico
 Red de Genero y Medio Ambiente, Mexico
Jubilee USA Network, US
Civil Society Forum for Climate Change, Tanzania
Secretariado Social Mexico
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia, Russia
The African Campaign for Education for All (ANCEFA), Senegal
Secours Catholique / Caritas, France
Intersindical Valenciana, Spain
Ayuda en Accion, Spain
Campana Mundial para la Educacion/Global Campaign for Education, Spain
Altermond, Japan

  1.International Monetary Fund, “A Fair and Substantial Contribution by the Financial Sector: Final Report for the G20,” June 2010.
 2.International Monetary Fund, “Taxing Financial Transactions:  Issues and Evidence,” Chapter 8 of Financial Sector Taxation: The IMF's Report to the G-20 and Background Material, September 2010.
  3.Report of the Committee of Experts to the Taskforce on International Financial Transactions and Development, “Globalizing Solidarity: The Case for Financial Levies,” July 16, 2010.
  4. Commission Staff Working Document, “Innovative financing at a global level,” Brussels, January 4, 2010.