又中又英——A race to the bottom

  Last week, the Group of Seven wealthy democracies, called G7 for short, agreed on a global minimum corporate tax of not less than 15 percent. Supporters said this global minimum corporate tax has been a long time coming. The aim is to prevent multinational companies from paying very little tax by using subsidiaries to put their profits in tax havens. After the G7 countries agreed to a global minimum corporate tax, the US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said, "For too long there's been a global race to the bottom in corporate taxes." The expression "a long time coming" means arriving or happening after a long time. A haven is a place of safety or refuge. Taiwan has become a haven for many Hong Kong people.

  The expression "tax haven" means a country or area that offers very low taxes for foreign individuals and companies. Tax havens normally have stable economies and politics. People or companies do not have to live or have a presence in tax havens to enjoy low taxes. These countries normally have a high level of secrecy to protect bank accounts. The Bahamas, Bermuda, and Monaco are examples of tax havens. The G7 wants a global minimum tax to prevent multinational companies such as Facebook from paying very little tax in their own countries and the countries where they do business by keeping profits in tax havens.

  When Yellen said for too long there's been a global race to the bottom, she meant multinationals have avoided paying their fair share of taxes for too long. The expression "a race to the bottom" means a situation in which companies compete for customers by offering the lowest prices. To do this, they reduce costs by paying the lowest wages or giving workers the worst conditions. When Yellen said "a global race to the bottom in corporate taxes", she meant places cutting corporate taxes to attract foreign multinationals. Hong Kong and Singapore are examples of this.

*****

  上星期,由七個發達民主國家組成的七大工業國組織,簡稱G7,協議統一全球企業稅率為最少百分之十五,支持者說今次這個全球最低企業稅率已等了好久(a long time coming)。它的目的是去避免跨國公司透過開立子公司,將利潤匯到避稅港(tax havens),以繳付非常低的稅款。在G7國家同意全球最低企業稅率之後,美國財政部長耶倫說:「全球在企業稅收上逐底競爭(a global race to the bottom)已然太久了。」習語 "a long time coming" 即姍姍來遲,等了好久才到來或發生。A haven就是安全的地方或避難所。台灣已成為許多香港人的避難所(haven)。

  習語 "tax haven" 是指為外國人或外國公司提供非常低稅率的國家或地區。避稅港(tax havens)通常都有穩定經濟和政治。要享受低稅率,那個人或公司不需要居住或親身到避稅港(tax havens),這些國家通常對於銀行帳戶極之保密。巴哈馬、百慕達和摩納哥都是避稅港(tax havens)的例子。G7希望設立一個全球最低稅率,去避免像臉書這些公司將利潤放在避稅港(tax havens),而在它們自己的國家或有業務的國家只付很少的稅款。

  當耶倫說,全球的逐底競爭(a global race to the bottom)已經太久了,她的意思是,跨國企業很長時間都在逃避繳付他們應繳的稅項。習語 "a race to the bottom" 是指那些公司競相用最低的價錢去爭客,而它們用的方法就是付最低的工資,或讓勞工在最差的條件下工作。當耶倫說 "a global race to the bottom in corporate taxes",她是指一些地方削減企業稅率去吸引跨國的外資企業;香港和新加坡也是這方面的例子。[email protected]

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


hd