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Good news from the USA

By Alasdair Roxburgh | 23 July 2010

There was some great news from the States this week, when a new US law which will challenge corruption in poor countries - and boost the pressure for global reforms to combat tax dodging and bribery - took a massive step forward.

$1The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (not the most catchy of names but never the less important), which President Obama is expected to sign into law next week, requires hundreds of major oil, gas and mining firms to declare the tax and other payments that they make to governments in all countries where they operate.

It will make companies in this sector far more accountable in the countries which they work. This is crucial in developing countries, which are often rich in resources, but due to tax dodging and corruption rarely see the benefits.

The law will create greater financial transparency meaning it will be easier to see financial flows and enable governments and citizens to spot financial abnormalities that could point to corruption.

We believe that the next step is to introduce this sort of transparency globally for the extractive industries.

The International Accounting Standard Board is currently discussing a similar standard which would apply in more than 100 countries.

Ultimately we need such measures to apply to all listed companies, not just those in the extractive industries and we need an end to the financial secrecy which facilitates massive tax dodging from developing countries.

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 About the author

Alasdair Roxburgh

Alasdair Roxburgh is our churches campaigns manager