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Thursday, 17 December 1992
Page: 5535

(Question No. 2463)

Senator Watson asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Overseas Development, upon notice, on 8 December 1992:

  With reference to the answer to Question on Notice No. 2379 (Senate Hansard, 11 November 1992, p.2830) relating to the Closer Economic Agreement:

  (1) When are the negotiations to be recommenced and what is the target date for the completion of the talks.

  (2) What is the projected date for the signing of the accord.

  (3) What would be the anticipated date for the implementation of the accord and would it be retrospective to 1 July 1992, which was the original date for this accord.

Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Trade and Overseas Development has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) As indicated in the answer to Question on Notice No. 2379, both the Australian and the NZ Governments recognised in the 1992 Review of CER that aspects of the tax arrangements being discussed were unprecedented and would have wide-ranging implications, including in relation to fiscal sovereignty, revenue and broader international tax policy objectives. In view of these considerations, it was acknowledged that further steps could not be taken until both Governments had conducted the careful and thorough analysis necessary to decide the best outcome. This analysis is in progress. Once it is completed, the Australian Government will consider whether negotiations should commence; depending on the outcome of this consideration it will endorse a negotiating position and, in consultation with the NZ Government, decide when negotiations could commence. It is not possible to say in advance how long the negotiations will take.

  (2) The answer to this question would depend on the considerations mentioned in (1) above and on the course of any negotiations.

  (3) Any new trans-Tasman taxation arrangement would not be implemented retrospectively. Standard practice for the implementation of Double Taxation Agreements is for the agreement to take effect at the beginning of the financial year subsequent to the calendar year in which notes are exchanged between the treaty partners advising that all necessary constitutional and legislative processes have been completed for the agreement to enter into force in the respective countries. Deviation from this practice is not likely.