The British Ambassador Nicholas Cannon and the Albanian Minister of Finance Ridvan Bode signed today the Double Taxation Agreement at the Ministry of Finance in Tirana.
The British Ambassador said:
I am very pleased today to have participated in the signing of this Double Taxation Agreement. The British government has found these agreements an important tool in encouraging bilateral trade and investment. They limit the amount of tax paid when dividends, interest and other payments flow across borders. They also contain wider agreed rules on the taxation of business income, rules that target tax avoidance and evasion and provisions that protect taxpayers from discriminatory treatment. They also contain provisions for the exchange of information between the taxation authorities of states. This is a very business-friendly treaty that follows the OECD Model Convention in many respects. We expect that our British and Albanian businesses will welcome it. We hope that that this treaty will serve to encourage bilateral trade and investment. Indeed early indications from some contacts and potential investors are that it certainly will.
There are more than 2,500 bilateral Double Taxation Treaties world-wide and the UK has the largest network of treaties, covering over 100 countries. But this one is the first between our two countries. So it represents an important step in the developing relationship between Albania and the United Kingdom.
We all know that there is potential for growth and profit in Albania. Our flagship British investor, Vodafone, has proved that in Albania it is possible to successfully provide services to the community and growth to the shareholders. Our major energy companies are examining with great seriousness the opportunities for development of natural resources here. The London architects Grimshaws have won the competition to design the Tirana boulevard extension. Several British universities are looking at the possibility of tapping into demand in the higher education sector. But British businesses are not as present here as we would wish.
The efforts of the Minister of Finance, the Governor of the Central Bank and their teams in maintaining economic stability in challenging circumstances have been welcomed by the business community and the economic commentators. But in these difficult times it is also important to make the business environment as attractive as possible through a predictable taxation system with fair and consistent rules; a legal system that is honest, objective and makes rapid decisions; efficient structures that enforce court decisions, particularly in the collection of debts and collateral; and a government that understands the concerns of the private sector and dedicates itself to the promotion of economic growth. I believe that the signing and implementation of this agreement is a small but significant step towards this objective.