24.01.2018

Tax haven: EU removed eight countries from blacklist

400The Council of the European Union announced Tuesday that the EU has amended its blacklist of jurisdictions that it deems uncooperative in tax matters, removing eight jurisdictions from that list.

EU finance ministers removed eight 'entities' - countries and territories - from the tax havens blacklist, while ruling out more transparency or sanctions.

Those countries are Barbados, Grenada, the Republic of Korea, Macao SAR, Mongolia, Panama, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. They have been moved to a “graylist” of what now includes 55 jurisdictions – including the Cayman Islands – that have committed to reforming their tax policies and are subject to further monitoring.

The EU Council stated in its announcement that it agreed a delisting was justified in the light of an expert assessment of the commitments made by the jurisdictions to address deficiencies identified by the EU. In each case, the commitments were backed by letters signed at a high political level, according to the Council, which touted the commitments as a sign that the EU’s blacklist is encouraging reforms.

“Our listing process is already proving its worth,” said Vladislav Goranov, minister for finance of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Council presidency. “Jurisdictions around the world have worked hard to make commitments to reform their tax policies. Our aim is to promote good tax governance globally.”

The decision leaves nine jurisdictions on the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, out of 17 announced initially on Dec. 5. These are American Samoa, Bahrain, Guam, Marshall Islands, Namibia, Palau, Saint Lucia, Samoa, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Oxfam, which published a report on tax havens in November, regretted that the EU was "undermining" its own process. "The EU is rushing to take countries off the blacklist without it being clear what they have actually committed to improve," said the NGO's Aurore Chardonnet.

The EU ministers say the committment to reform shows that the process is working, but activists and lawmakers are calling for the details of those commitments to be made public. "I understand that some countries move from the black list to the grey list," EU tax commissioner Pierre Moscovici told reporters. "The grey list will be over 50 territories or states, but those commitments they have taken must be made public, so that they are evaluated, they are controlled".

Countries can be returned to the blacklist if they fail to make the promised changes.






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