Support for the Tobin Tax Growing Around the World
With the exception of Canada, which is backpeddling on its commitment to Tobin tax adoption in the motion passed on March 23, 1999, and the US, which is ideologically opposed to any control over “free” markets, the debate on the need for and feasibility of currency controls is growing globally. Below are some recent milestones.
March 2001: In a country already on the edge of an abyss of debt, 15 Argentinean Deputies of different political parties submit a bill requiring the institution of a Tobin Tax.
December 17, 2001: Senator Jean Cornil and Deputy Karine Lalieux submit a bill to institute a tax on the international movements of capital ranging from 0.01% to 0.1%. This tax would become effective when a majority of Euro-zone member States will have adopted similar measures.
January 2001: In Porto Alegre, the final Declaration of the First World Parliamentarian Forum brings its support to the international campaigns in favor of a Tobin Tax.
February 13, 2002: ECOFIN Study ”Responses to the Challenge of Globalization” released.
September 2001: The Tobin Tax is added for the first time to the agenda of ECOFIN, the Council of Finance Ministers of the European Union. The European Commission is called to submit a report notably on "the advantages and disadvantages of the creation of a tax on financial transactions, including the Tobin Tax, as well as alternative propositions pursuing the same goal", "the technical feasibility of the various alternative international means to finance development" and "the way to improve the effectiveness of the European budget devoted to aid development, such as the commitment to respect the objective of 0.7% of GNP."
October 10, 2001: When questioned in Parliament, and speaking on behalf of the government, Finance Minister Sauli Niinistö doubts the gains of the CTT, but promises
that goverment will initiate broad-based assessment process on the effects of economical globalization, including means to regulate international capital flows.
May 17, 2001: Foreign Ministry releases a public study which reveals that 73 % of Finns are in favour of Tobin tax. 35 % of Finns think that the Tobin tax should be 1 %, and 38 % that Tobin tax should be 0.1 %.
November 19, 2001: The National Assembly adopts, with the support of the Government, an amendment to the 2002 Finance Law that institutes a tax on transactions on the currency markets at a rate of between 0.01% and .1% that will be enforced when similar laws are adopted by other countries in the European Union. This is the first piece of legislation in the world that would implement a Tobin-type tax.
February 20, 2002: German Development Minister Ms. Wieczorek-Zeul releases a study on the feasibility of the currency transactions tax written by Paul B. Spahn, a finance economist and former IMF employee. The study refutes the main arguments against the Tobin-type tax and advocates implementation "by single OECD countries or - even better - within a group of countries, for example in the EU".
February 7, 2001: Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee calls for the imposition of an international levy on capital flows between developed countries and all capital repatriations from developing countries in his inaugural address at the first Delhi Sustainable Development Summit. Resources collected from these taxes would be credited to a Global Poverty Alleviation Fund which would be used to:
- accelerate the liquidation of all public external debts of low-income countries;
- provide programs targeted specifically at those who have lost their livelihoods in economic crises born out of reversal of external capital flows in developing countries;
- assist in the enhancement of skills and access to finance needed by the poor to compete effectively in the global economy.
November 8, 2001: A resolution for the institution of a Tobin-type Tax is submitted to the House of Deputies by Rafael Hernandez Estrada.
February 6, 2002: A cross-party group was officially formed in the Congress of Parliamentary Members to study and debate the question of the Tobin Tax and the abolition of tax havens. Participants represent all parties except the ruling one, the “Partido Popular” which opposes the implementation of Tobin-type tax.
April 2001: The Swedish Vice Prime Minister, Lena Hjelm-Wallen, announces support for the Tobin Tax at the meeting to launch Attac Sweden. The Swedish Deputies become, in proportion to the number in their Chamber, the greatest number of signatories to the World Parliamentarians Appeal.
February 26, 2002: Harry Barnes, Labour MP, tables an “Early Day Motion” on the Tobin Tax with the support of five parties in the House of Commons.
April 25, 2001: Harry Barnes tables the first “Early Day Motion “on the Tobin Tax signed by 147 MPs across the political spectrum. Clare Short, Minister of Development, is the first member of the Government to add her support.
May 2001: Presentation of a bill by Senator José Korzeniak requiring that "the Uruguayan state suggests at every level, international, bilateral, regional, continental and at a world level that a tax of between 0.1% to 1% be imposed on financial speculative transactions.”
Prepared by Halifax Initiative, a coalition of 13 social justice, development, labour and faith organizations advocating the adoption of a Tobin tax since 1995.