Hurricane makes OECD move meeting to Mexico City

MEXICO CITY Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:05pm EDT

MEXICO CITY Aug 31 (Reuters) - The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has moved an international meeting on tax havens to Mexico City from the Pacific resort of Los Cabos due to an approaching hurricane.

Delegates from around 70 OECD and non-OECD countries had already started arriving in Los Cabos, on the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, for the talks on Tuesday and Wednesday, but dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Jimena was forecast to hammer the resort on those days.

The meeting was "transferred to Mexico City because of the threat of severe damage posed by Hurricane Jimena," the Paris-based OECD said in a statement.

OECD head Angel Gurria will lead the two-day talks, aimed at persuading more countries to share tax information.

Residents and tourists in the Los Cabos area stocked up on food and fuel or cut short their vacations after the Mexican government issued a hurricane warning. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said people should take precautions to safeguard their lives and property.

Category 4 hurricanes like Jimena, which was packing 145 mph (230 kph) winds, are "extremely dangerous" according to the hurricane center and can cause devastating damage on land.

Much of Baja California is sparsely populated desert and mountains, but Los Cabos is a lively resort area popular with U.S. tourists for its world-class golf courses, upscale hotels, yachting and beaches.

The hurricane center said Jimena could dump 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm) of rain on the southern end of the peninsula. (Reporting by Tomas Sarmiento in Mexico City and Brian Love in Paris; editing by Mohammad Zargham)