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CARICOM countries could be removed from EU blacklist

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (CMC) — At least two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that had been included in a new list of global tax havens by the European Union could be removed after submitting plans to change their tax rules.

Reuters News agency is reporting that Barbados and Grenada are among eight jurisdictions whom European Union officials have proposed be removed from the blacklist of tax havens that enraged Caribbean governments when it had been released last month.

The other countries likely to be removed are Panama, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Macao, Mongolia and Tunisia.

But the international news agency, which reported that it had viewed the documents to be discussed at a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, said jurisdictions set to remain on the blacklist are American Samoa, Bahrain, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Namibia, Palau, St Lucia, Samoa, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The new proposals are expected to be adopted by EU finance ministers when they meet next week in Brussels for monthly talks.

The proposal for the delisting was made by the so-called Code of Conduct Group, which gathers tax experts from the 28 EU member states. It monitors countries' commitments to abide by EU standards on tax matters.

If the recommendation were confirmed by EU ministers, the eight jurisdictions will be moved to a so-called grey list which includes those who have committed to change their rules on tax transparency and cooperation. The grey list currently includes 47 jurisdictions.

Caribbean countries have in the past been very critical of being included on these lists insisting that they have done everything as outlined by various European organisations like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The EU finance ministers had claimed last month that the countries on the blacklist were not doing enough to crack down on offshore avoidance schemes.

The list excludes a number of British Overseas Territories such as the Cayman Island and Bermuda that were on a previous EU blacklist from June 2015. Complaints about the methodology of that last list saw it scrapped and replaced with the new register.

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