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Remarks by H.E. Mr. Zhang Yiming at the Tax Law Lecture Co-hosted by the Embassy and Ministry of Finance

Hon. Calle Schelttwein, Minister of Finance,

Representatives of Compatriots and Overseas Chinese:

First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Namibia, I would like to thank Hon. Minister and friends from Ministry of Finance for their strong support for this lecture. There are two purposes of holding the lecture: first, we aim to promote the understanding of Namibian tax policies by Chinese businessmen and Chinese companies and enhance their awareness of law-abiding and paying taxes; second, it provides a platform for face-to-face communication on tax policies that the Chinese businessmen and Chinese companies should care about, so we can handle relevant issues properly.

Namibia is China's "all-weather" friend and Namibia-China relationship is one of the priorities among China’s African policies. The two countries and two Parties have profound traditional friendship and both sides have the responsibility to safeguard our traditional relations, deepen our pragmatic cooperation. We should work harder to make the relations between China and Namibia a model among the relations between China and southern African countries.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 27 years ago, our economic and trade cooperation has been expanding fast. There are now 60 Chinese enterprises and nearly 7,000 self-employed businessmen in Namibia, covering a lot of fields. The Chinese shops are all over the country. They have made irreplaceable contributions to economic construction and improvement of ordinary people's living standards. Their dedication and hard work should be affirmed and respected.

The case of some Chinese businessmen investigated for their involvement in tax violations has aroused great concern from all parties since the end of last year. Indeed, the issue of non-standard taxation exists in Namibia for a long time, and some Chinese enterprises and individuals are actually involved. However, it should be noted that the above-mentioned problems have their own complicated background. The reasons should all be attended, such as weak legal awareness of some taxpayers, legal loopholes, lax government supervision, and ineffective performance by individual law enforcement officers and even self-incarceration etc. To solve the problems, we must not only point at taxpayer and adopt a stick-and-kill approach, which is like to kill a chicken for its eggs and drinking poisons for a thirst. In this regard, I would like to emphasize the following three points:

First, we must see the overall picture. On one hand, we must always consider safeguarding the traditional friendship between China and Namibia, and avoid exaggerating or politicizing individual cases, to jeopardize the fraternal friendship between the two peoples. On the other hand, we must always consider the overall interests of the entire country, take the initiative to fix legal loopholes, standardize law enforcement actions, maintain a stable investment environment and promote the sustained and steady development of the economy.

Second, we must persist in an integration of cracking down illegal activities and safeguarding legitimate interests. China fully understands Namibia’s efforts to solve the problems and firmly cooperates with Namibia in fighting against money laundering and tax offenses in accordance with the law. China will never tolerate law offenders. We will continue to promote education campaign among Chinese citizens to raise their awareness of law-abiding. At the same time, China hopes that Namibian Government could safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of most Chinese enterprises and personnel that run their business legally.

Third, we must solve the problems in a constructive manner. We should look into the special historical background and underlying causes of tax issues, strengthen face-to-face communication and exchange, establish smooth communication channels, and reach satisfactory agreements to all parties as soon as possible. The soft landing of the issue will effectively protect investors' enthusiasm and enhance their confidence.

I believe today's lecture will be a good attempt to solve the problems and through the frank exchanges between the Chinese representatives and Namibian friends, we can achieve phased results by Christmas, so that both sides can enjoy a reassuring and peaceful Christmas - New Year holiday. Thank you, Hon. Minister for your understanding and support! I wish today's lecture a big success!

Thank you!

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