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06/18/2013

The top 10 list - courtesy of the G8

Cameron
British Prime Minister David Cameron walking swiftly through the grounds of the Lough Erne golf resort at the close of the G8 summit on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

The leaders of the free world's most powerful nations are now finished their tour of Northern Ireland.

The G8 heads of state came, they saw, they signed the Lough Erne Declaration.

After months of posturing and spouting good words on the need to combat tax avoidance, stop the violence in Syria, promote free trade and shine a light on corporate ownership, leaders have come up with a "Top 10" list of how they will, according to them, "make a real difference."

The condensed version is thus:

1. Tax authorities across the world should automatically share information to fight the scourge of tax evasion.

2. Change the rules that let companies shift their profits across borders to avoid taxes, and multinations should report to the tax man what they pay and where.

3. Companies should come clean on who really owns them.

4. Developing nations should have that info and be able to collect the taxes owed them.

5. Extractive firms should report all payments to all governments and they should be published.

6. Don't plunder minerals from conflict zones.

7. Don't steal land - land transactions should be transparent and respect local property rights.

8. Governments should "roll back" protectionism.

9. Ease the flow of goods at borders.

10. Publish easy to read info on laws, budgets, spending, statistics, elections and contracts.

Summit host, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, said during this time of economic uncertainty, their "urgent priority is to promote growth and jobs, particularly for the young and long-term unemployed."

"Our economies together make up around half of the global economy, and we have a responsibility to support prosperity worldwide," Cameron said Tuesday in Lough Erne at the conclusion of the meeting.

As the economy of the European Union continues to sputter along, Cameron added he's pleased the U.S. and the EU are engaging in free trade negotiations and he hopes to see a conclusion in the union's talks with Canada.

And concerning all that messiness regarding tax systems and multinational corporations creative accounting, Cameron said they "will work to create a comon template for multinationals to report to tax authoriteis where they maket their profits and pay their taxes across the world."

It all sounds like a plan. Let's see if they can actually pull it off.

Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga

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