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  President Kaljulaid meets with US Treasury Secretary in Washington

   President Kaljulaid meets with US Treasury Secretary in Washington © Mattias Tammet/presidendi kantselei

02.07.2021

President Kersti Kaljulaid, who is on a working visit to the United States, met last night (Estonian time) with US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen in Washington. The main topics of discussion during their meeting were establishing a global minimum rate of corporate tax and ensuring transparency in the financing of major international infrastructure networks.

“Countries have to work together to make sure that taxation is transparent and effective and that the traits that set national taxation systems apart cannot be abused for the purposes of tax evasion,” President Kaljulaid stated in setting out Estonia’s position. “That said, the global corporate tax proposed by the OECD is not the best solution, at least in its current form, as it will punish small countries that display good tax discipline and that have simple taxations systems like Estonia. Economies thrive when countries try hard to achieve a better environment for enterprise through honest competition, but the solution that is currently being offered works against that.” During the meeting it was agreed that discussion of the issue, including further explanations of positions, would take place at the level of the countries’ finance ministers.

In speaking about the financing of large-scale, cross-border infrastructure projects, the Estonian head of state underscored that checks on infrastructure of key importance constitute one of the biggest questions that will define the 21st century. “The battle over who controls infrastructure of critical importance to the functioning of countries is a geopolitical issue that is growing in significance every year,” said President Kaljulaid. “Connections within and between countries form powerful pillars, and we are already seeing all over the world that democratic and transparent investments are coming up against those whose aim is control over the infrastructure and therefore over specific sites, regions or states for the purpose of increasing influence. If democratic countries that respect the free market economy want to win that battle, we need to act quickly and in a coordinated manner.” She gave the example of the Three Seas investment fund, which is one possible model for dealing with such issues.

During the first half of this week, President Kaljulaid has been on a working visit to the United States, where in addition to meeting with Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen she has also met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the heads of the World Bank and UNICEF, and taken part in a number of eminent think tank discussions.

The head of state is returning to Estonia today.

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