From the TUC

If the Japanese Government supports a Robin Hood Tax, it’s a lot more likely to happen

17 Feb 2010, by in International

You might be forgiven for assuming that Gordon Brown had isolated himself last November when he argued for a financial transactions tax at the G20 Finance Ministers meeting. That is, after all, what many journalists reported and have trotted out since. In fact, he was joining the leaders of France and Germany. And now, Bloomberg and the Financial Times report that the Minister responsible for tax policy has indicated that the Japanese government may also be leaning in that direction.

That would make four out of the seven richest economies on the planet (the G7 whose Finance Ministers still meet separately, years after the G8 was born, now itself to be supplanted by the G20) supporting what the UK calls the Robin Hood Tax. Four out of seven. Er, that’s a majority isn’t it? Of course, the US administration is yet to be convinced, but we are getting closer to the tipping point.

For those who don’t like decisions being made by the richest countries in the world, the G7 does actually have traction on this issue, because most financial transactions do take place in those richest countries. Over 70% of the value of global transactions are in just three: Britain, Germany and the USA. And there isn’t actually a mechanism to introduce a global tax, so in reality what a global tax means is the co-ordinated introduction of taxes by the countries where the financial transactions take place.

The TUC believes, in any case, that currency and share transactions can be introduced unilaterally (indeed, we already have such a tax on share dealings in UK-based companies). So the more rich nations that agree with the idea, the more feasible a global deal is, and the easier it is to implement unilaterally.

3 Responses to If the Japanese Government supports a Robin Hood Tax, it’s a lot more likely to happen

  1. Liberal Conspiracy » Japan joins global call for Robin Hood tax
    Feb 18th 2010, 8:56 am

    […] Tudor at the ToUChstone blog welcomed the news, adding: Four out of seven. Er, that’s a majority isn’t it? Of course, the […]

  2. The FT considers Tobin Taxes « Freethinking Economist
    Feb 18th 2010, 10:06 am

    […] would like to point out that – unlike what the crowing TUC and LibCon seem to think – this is NOT a Robin Hood tax.  Brazil’s 2% tax is about 40 […]

  3. Owen Tudor

    Owen Tudor
    Feb 18th 2010, 10:14 am

    Giles (the freethinking economist) has demonstrated the dangers of blogging on the run. Or something. His blog about my blog says that my comments about Brazil’s transactions tax are not relevant to the Robin Hood Tax. Er… I didn’t mention Brazil, I was referring to the FT/Bloomberg reports on Japan (easy to confuse? I think not.)

    But Brazil’s tax, which as he says the FT approves of, does raise two points. First, such taxes can be introduced successfully on a country by country basis (whereas many commentators – I don’t mean Giles – have said they can’t). And secondly (and I realise I’m being totally opportunistic here), it is certainly the case that Brazil’s President Lula has supported the idea of broader transaction taxes in the past and, we believe, still does. He’s not in the G7, of course, but he IS in the G20 and will therefore have a voice.