European Union adds UAE to tax haven blacklist

13 Mars, 2019, 14:00 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • European Union adds UAE to tax haven blacklist

European Union governments adopted a broadened blacklist of tax havens on Tuesday, adding the United Arab Emirates and British and Dutch overseas territories in a revamp that tripled the number of listed jurisdictions.

The 28-nation European Union set up the blacklist after revelations of widespread tax avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower their tax bills. Other jurisdictions in the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean are set to complete the updated list.

The EU's struggle to agree on the common list of alleged tax havens came just a week after the bloc's members rejected another blacklist on likely money-laundering hotspots and highlights the degree to which lobbying and national trade interests interfere with EU action against questionable financial practices.

Other countries from the Middle East previously added to the commission's list include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.

Vanuatu's Foreign Minister, Ralph Regenvanu, hit out against the announcement on Twitter, comparing the list to playing "a game when the rules of the game are always changing, the goalposts are always being shifted and there are several different referees".

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Financial Secretary Joseph Waight had recently told the media that Belize had been cooperating with the EU Code of Conduct Group to ensure Belize remained off the blacklist and to review Belize's tax regime and see how the country could strengthen its laws. A final decision will be made by finance ministers at a meeting on Tuesday.

The Netherlands would veto the listing of its overseas territory of Aruba if the UAE was removed from the draft list, according to the document and two European officials.

"The UAE remains firmly committed to its long-standing policy of meeting the highest global standards on taxation", it said.

The EU blacklist originally comprised 17 jurisdictions, including the UAE, but shrank to five after most listed states committed to change their tax rules. The list now comprises Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as American Samoa, Guam and the US Virgin Islands.

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