Senate panel approves eight international tax treaties

The U.S. Capitol building is seen before the start of President Barack Obama's primetime address to a joint session of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 24, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday approved eight long-delayed international tax treaties, which had been held up for years because of one Republican senator’s objections, despite support from companies that want consistency in rules for how to do international business.

The treaties are with Switzerland, Luxembourg, Hungary, Chile, Spain, Poland and Japan and the international convention on mutual assistance on tax matters.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul objected to the agreements for privacy reasons, saying they would allow more inter-governmental sharing of financial information on citizens, which U.S. officials deny. Although the Republican is a member of the committee, he was not at the meeting where the pacts were approved by unanimous voice vote.

It was not yet certain when the treaties would be considered by the 100-member U.S. Senate, where they need a two-thirds vote to be ratified.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Doina Chiacu