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Offshore financial centres and offshore business structures


This paper attempts to identify the ‘real offshore’ by analyzing the regulatory systems and business structures of Hong Kong and Singapore; and distinguishing the two jurisdictions from classic tax havens. It argues that these jurisdictions are genuine offshore financial centres with value in fighting against the ‘real offshore’. As to strategy against the real offshore, this paper disagrees with William Brittain - Catlin’s ‘blanket disengagement’ from the real offshore, but recommends ‘partial disengagement’ from jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate. While supportive of Rolan Palan’s strategy of international cooperation and limiting sovereignty rights, this paper is doubtful of its effect, particularly in respect of classic tax havens.

This paper recommends international consensus on the critical concepts of international cooperation and highlights the importance of understanding cultural barriers to effective international cooperation in the formulation of appropriate strategies for international actions, using Singapore as an example.

Author profile:

Karen Sun Ying Wong
Karen has a Master of Global Law (MGlobL) from University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Taxation from the University of New South Wales. She is also an Associate member of the Governance Institute of Australia. Current at 1 December 2013 Current at 18 December 2013


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