Stamp Out Poverty Campaign : Tobin Tax Update - Winter 2004

Tobin Tax “technically feasible” say world leaders

The Presidents of France, Brazil, Spain and Chile with UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, have said that: “a tax on foreign exchange transactions is technically feasible on a global level”. Their report on financing development, ‘Action Against Hunger and Poverty’, was released at the UN in New York on 20 September and has the support of 110 countries. Presidents Chirac, Lula and Zapatero then made a formal declaration on hunger and poverty, saying “the greatest scandal is not that hunger exists, but that it persists even when we have the means to eliminate it. It is time to take action. Hunger cannot wait”.

President Chirac went on to call for “technically realistic and economically rational” development funding mechanisms, and noted that senior IMF and World Bank officials have accepted the feasibility of currency transaction taxes (CTTs) to finance development. For further information, including the ‘Action Against Hunger and Poverty’ report (referred to as the Quadripartite Report), go to: Following so close on the heels of the Belgian CTT legislation passed this July, such an unprecedented high-level backing of the CTT surely heralds a new phase of the campaign. It is now no longer a question of whether the trade in currencies ought to be taxed to raise money for international development, but when!

Money trade worth $1.9 trillion per day – up 57% in 3 years

The market in currencies has risen from $1.2 trillion per day in 2001 to $1.9 trillion per day in 2004, a staggering increase of 57%. Every three years the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) produces a report surveying activity in the foreign exchange and derivatives markets. The newly released survey is available at: This significant increase in the volume of currency trading has major implications for estimates of CTT revenues. As we work to complete our new report (see below), we will reflect this important development in our income projections.

European ‘Tobin’ campaign leaps forward at Social Forum

20,000 people from nearly 70 countries converged on London in October for this year’s European Social Forum (ESF). Tobin Tax groups from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK (as well as from outside Europe: Costa Rica, India and Japan) met for an unprecedented series of plenary, seminar and workshop sessions. The outcome was a number of key agreements including the setting up of a European office in Brussels and the development of detailed plans to secure a CTT on the Euro and other European currencies.

Spain set to follow Belgium as CTT momentum continues

President Zapatero is looking to emulate Belgium’s recent historic progress with the introduction of Spain’s own currency transaction tax. Watch this space for news of unfolding developments.


  • Our new Tobin Tax Network report will now be published early next year. There has been important progress with the completion of an interim version, which has been discussed by representatives of government departments and leading academics. Their feedback and the massive increase in the size of the money trade (see above) will be reflected in the final document. Critical areas where progress has been made include: the CTT can generate significant amounts of revenue at a very low rate; can be implemented unilaterally in the UK on all trades of pounds; cannot be avoided without committing a criminal offence.
  • In our last update MPs were requested to sign Early Day Motion 1560 applauding Belgium’s CTT legislation and urging the UK to do likewise. Progress:
  • 2005 is an unprecedented window of opportunity for the currency transaction tax to be at the forefront of ways to finance international development as Britain hosts both the G8 summit and the presidency of the European Union. We will keep you posted on how the CTT can play its part in the broader campaign by hundreds of groups in 2005 to MAKE POVERTY HISTORY.