To address the idea of sustainability in the allocation of profits, two aspects are required: on the one hand, there is a need for a sustainability index, and on the other hand, there is a need for standardised sustainability indicators that are determined and published by companies worldwide. For developing countries, this should mean to be a frontrunner in this development and push forward the idea, always keeping in mind the risks but also chances of a sustainability in substance approach.
Most of DSTs significant propositions are based on several grounds, including the goal of having businesses and corporations, especially multinational corporations (MNCs) pay their due share on taxes, taxing profits derived from consumers activities in their territory, or adapting traditional regulations and systems of international taxation to guide and inform new forms of unsettling business models that can be conducted virtually. This is following the debate that digital firms are undertaxed.
How States proceed with building consensus to create a social contract that facilitates effective taxation, especially in the light of the massive disruptions caused by the pandemic will require continuous engagement by all parties. Success will perhaps depend on how proactively and quickly countries and the international taxation system unlearn old habits and begin to ascribe to the new normal way of doing things.
Unfortunately, the Guide appears to be blind to the way in which conceiving land and tenure rights in the context of global vale chains can multiply the relevant spaces of engagement and challenges the traditional notion of jurisdictional spaces and fragmentation. Luckily, communities, activists and lawyers acting on the ground have come to this realization long ago, and I believe that they will find the best way to use a document that aims to normalize large-scale investments but can also open new interesting spaces for political and legal resistance.
Developing countries are currently disadvantaged in the international tax regime. The control of the developed countries in the tax regime is evidenced in their influence in the creation of the major model tax treaties that are used as the starting point for nearly all bilateral tax treaties today. With the rise of multilateral tax instruments and an awareness of the dubious flow of tax revenue out of already disadvantaged countries, developing countries should consider renegotiating their bilateral tax treaties to ensure a more balanced international tax system that is designed for their benefit.
The AfCFTA, as presently negotiated, fails to address the potential tax avoidance likely to arise from the proposed single market. The tax-related non-tariff barriers mentioned in the AfCFTA are limited to subsidies and tax benefits granted by governments to countries. In the absence of any express provision on the allocation of taxable income among countries in the AfCFTA, it may be argued that the AfCFTA has adopted the global tax system, which treats companies in a group as separate from each other.