Chair of BRITACOM Council
Commissioner of STA
December 15, 2020
Ladies and gentlemen,
A warm welcome to you all!
It is a pleasure to meet with you again via video conference. I remember the last time we met in this special way was in the early summer, when colleagues from all over the world crossed the barriers of time and space to share their experiences and exchange views on tax policies and services to combat the pandemic. That meeting united us on the front of pandemic containment and contributed to the building of a community with shared future for mankind.
Today, we are gathered again at the High-level Virtual Conference themed on New Challenges, New Opportunities, and New Future — Development Planning of Tax Digitalization in the Context of the Global Pandemic. We hope to proffer ideas for social and economic development as well as tax governance in the post-pandemic era. As Chair of the BRITACOM, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all colleagues and experts and express my heartfelt gratitude for your long-term support and cooperation.
It has been proved that solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons for the international community to defeat the pandemic. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, all parties of BRITACOM have acted swiftly to build a special exchange and discussion platform, shared information and experience, and worked together to find solutions, which has played an irreplaceable and important role of BRI tax authorities. In the past six months or so, we have further turned consensus into action and joined hands to tide over difficulties and seek common development. This is mainly reflected in the following.
Firstly, we built an all-round communication and exhibition platform with science and technology. In order to strengthen the top-level design and macro planning of tax digitalization, we have carefully planned this high-level conference and organized various online activities with science and technology to create an intelligent and diversified platform for exchange, exhibition and practical cooperation. All parties actively participated in bilateral and multilateral dialogues of tax digitalization, promoted the communication between tax authorities and enterprises, expanded and deepened international tax cooperation.
Secondly, we enhanced tax administration capacity with practical actions. The pandemic has changed the way we communicate and also put higher requirements on our work and service. Accordingly, we sought countermeasures, took responsible actions, and deepened online exchanges and cooperation. Taking the key tasks outlined in Wuzhen Action Plan (2019-2021) as the starting point and relying on the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Capacity Enhancement Group (BRITACEG), we carried out a series of online seminars, training courses, etc., to bring into play the outcomes of capacity building and cooperation projects.
Thirdly, we focused on the forefront of tax digitalization with forward-looking wisdom. Keeping in view the theme of tax digitalization set out in the Second Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Forum and pandemic containment, we have organized a series of seminars focusing on such practical, extensive and high-concern topics as business continuity in response to COVID-19, and service and administration of VAT in digital times, etc., strengthened research and discussion on new issues and trends at the working level, and jointly advanced the modernization of tax governance system and governance capacity.
At the same time, we adjusted work plan in time, changed work mode, continuously promoted and refined routine work such as the Wuzhen Action Plan (2019-2021) working group, the official website of BRITACOM, and the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Journal (BRITJ), and steadily promoted the construction of BRITACOM.
At present, we still need to be soberly aware that COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc on the world. Countries have a long way to go to fight the pandemic, stabilize the economy, and protect people’s livelihood. The power of the tax administrations is crucial. We are also happy to see that the digital economy is booming despite the pandemic, providing a new path for economic development. Strengthening development planning and practical collaboration on tax digitalization in the context of global pandemic is precisely the theme of this conference. In this regard, I believe that efforts should be made from the following aspects:
Firstly, giving full play to the role of multilateral tax platform. We should fully understand the significance and positive role of solidarity, mutual assistance and multilateral cooperation, follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint efforts, and shared benefits under the framework of BRITACOM, adhere to mutually beneficial cooperation, keep pace with the times, take concerted actions, create a favorable development environment for digital economy with the collective efforts of taxation, and address the problems brought by digital economy with the collective wisdom of taxation.
Second, deepening the important application of information technology. We should attach great importance to and vigorously develop the important application of information technology in tax field, make sound development planning in tax digitalization, comprehensively advance tax digitalization, promote the formation of an IT-based and smart tax governance system and tax service ecology, and persist in sharing experience and information to jointly accelerate the modernization of tax collection and management.
Third, advancing the planning and building of BRITACOM. We should constantly improve the organizational structure of the cooperation mechanism, fully mobilize the resources of each body of the cooperation mechanism, focus on the theme of tax digitalization, give free rein to the functions of BRITACEG and working groups, deepen the construction of the website and BRITJ, create a multi-integrated long-term working mechanism, and help jurisdictions improve their tax digitalization with the efficient operation of BRITACOM.
“It is in the nature of human society that new forces will take the place of the old and thrive in abundance.” The haze of the pandemic will eventually dissipate and we will be greeted by the historical opportunity of information revolution and a new situation in digital cooperation. Let us work together to embrace the new opportunities through cooperation, seek new development with hard work, and jointly create a better future for the building of Belt and Road Initiative!
Thank you all.