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Swan to urge G20 to close tax loopholes


Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan is urging the Group of 20 major economies to close tax loopholes that allow profitable multinational companies to exploit differences in taxation regimes to avoid tax.

The Australian government this week introduced amendments to crack down on tax avoidance by global businesses that use complex arrangements and contrived corporate structures to avoid paying their fair share of tax.

Mr Swan, who left Australia on Thursday to attend the G20 finance ministers meeting in Moscow this weekend, said he would be looking for increased co-operation among nations to close those tax loopholes.

"In doing so, these companies leave all the heavy lifting to the businesses and individuals who do the right thing," he said a statement.

"This is not only unfair, but gives those unscrupulous companies a pricing advantage in the market place."

It's a global problem that requires global co-operation, and the G20 - which is responsible for 85 per cent of the world economy - is well placed to take action.

Otherwise, Mr Swan said while there would be some cause for cautious optimism at the meeting, the global recovery was not yet self-sustaining and stronger growth was needed to address the unacceptably high unemployment in many countries.

"Despite our economic strengths, global economic forces continue to impact our economy, with revenues far from recovering from the worst bout of economic turmoil since the Great Depression," he said.

Mr Swan will speak about the issue at a meeting of finance ministers and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

He intends to have separate meetings with Indonesian finance minister Agus Martowardojo and Japanese deputy prime minister and finance minister Taro Aso.

Australia is playing an enhanced role in guiding the G20's work in the lead-up to its G20 presidency in 2014.