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CARICOM-Cuba leaders condemn EU tax haven list

Published:Sunday | December 10, 2017 | 12:00 AM

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Cuba and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have criticised the European Union over its latest list of global tax havens that has included four Caribbean countries.

Earlier this week EU financial ministers named St Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago among 17 countries worldwide, which they claimed had done little to improve their status as tax havens.

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).

Following the sixth CARICOM-Cuba summit that ended Friday night, the leaders issued a joint statement expressing “deep concern about the inclusion of CARICOM member states in the lists of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions”.

The EU said that the new list was compiled through a three-step process including the pre-selection of 216 countries worldwide using more than 1600 indicators and that all  jurisdictions chosen for screening were formally contacted, to explain the process and invite them to engage with the EU.

St Vincent and the Grenadines is listed as a jurisdiction with improved fair taxation while Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are listed as jurisdictions which introduced substance requirement.

The EU said that as a first step, a letter will be sent to all jurisdictions on the new list, explaining the decision and what they can do to be de-listed.

But in their joint statement, the CARICOM and Cuban leaders called for a change in the EU practise of listing countries as tax havens, saying “this approach …serves to negatively impact the economies of small vulnerable states that have implemented recognised international standards and have demonstrated a commitment to engage in cooperation and dialogue to find solutions that are mutually beneficial”.