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Salceda calls for “concrete developments” in US-PH ties; House tax chair urges US to follow through on commitments in climate, security, COVID-19, and global taxation

November 29th, 2021

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) called on the United States to act on its commitments to the Philippines on “key areas” of concern such as the economy, climate change, security, and global taxation, during a courtesy call of US Embassy Charge d’Affaires Heather Variava with the leadership of the House of Representatives.

In his intervention, Salceda stated that he hoped to see “concrete developments” in climate change, maritime security, COVID-19 recovery, and global taxation commitments of the United States.

“The world is watching how we manage our ties. Whether we admit it or not, there is a special and unique relationship between the United States and the Philippines. What we both get out of this partnership is a model for how the world will deal with our respective countries. Let us make this committed relationship work,” Salceda said.

On security, Salceda said that “the United States’s right to assert such freedom [of navigation] over the region, rests extremely heavily on the strength of our military relations and on whether the treaty could be credibly invoked.”

Salceda also called on the US to help make COVID-19 therapeutics more accessible.

“We will not be able to avoid the discussion on access to COVID-19 therapeutics. I am firm in my belief that what will bring us to a “better normal” is not when we have eradicated COVID-19, for I doubt this will ever happen. Instead, it is when COVID-19 has lost its lethality, with affordable and accessible drugs that can cure the infected. This, I think, will be the most important point of discussion for lasting pandemic recovery, moving forward,” Salceda said.

On climate change, Salceda, who was Green Climate Fund co-chair from 2013 to 2014, called on the US to deliver on its commitment to contribute USD 3 billion to the Initial Resource Mobilization (IRM) component of the fund, which aims to help countries most vulnerable to climate change, such as the Philippines.

“Moving forward, American acknowledgment of the principle of climate justice – that some countries cause more harm than others, while some countries suffer more harm than they have caused themselves – will be the fundamental framework for a system of international climate reparations. We do not want to curtail America’s prosperity. We want a prosperous America, because that way, it would be capable of fulfilling its own obligations to the world and to fighting climate change,” Salceda said.

Salceda also urged the US to consider the impact of monetary policy adjustments by the US Federal Reserve on the balance sheets of countries such as the Philippines.

Global minimum taxes mulled

Salceda, as House tax chair, also said that he is “very enthusiastic about President Biden’s push for a global minimum corporate income tax. This will prevent the so-called “race to the bottom” that has only benefited multinationals at the expense of basic social services and fiscal strength.”

“I would like to express the sense of the House Committee on Ways and Means that we are enthusiastic about joining the fight for a minimum global corporate income tax,” Salceda said.

“This is not just about the corporate tax rate, however, for there are many ways to evade high corporate income tax rates.”

“We would like to bring to the discussion the idea of a minimum “domiciled” income for multinationals. This is most relevant to the practice of transfer pricing, where some multinationals may adjust costs such that most of its income is reflected in divisions where the tax regime is most favorable,” Salceda added.

Salceda also emphasized that “Leadership of the United States on this issue would be vital in tackling base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) practices.” #

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