Minister of International Business Donville Inniss says he is optimistic that following two weeks of robust discussions with the European Union (EU), Barbados is likely to be removed from its blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.
This country was among four Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries on the list of 17, who were blacklisted by the 28-member EU as non-cooperative tax havens.
Also included on the blacklist, which followed ten months of investigations by EU officials, were fellow CARICOM countries Grenada, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as American Samoa, Bahrain, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Mongolia, Marshall Islands, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
Those placed on the list were described as not doing enough to crackdown on offshore avoidance schemes, and stood to lose access to EU funds.
However, in brief update last night, Inniss said: “Over the past two weeks Barbados has engaged with the EU with respect to us being labeled as a jurisdiction of concern to the EU. My ministry has vigorously explained and defended our jurisdiction. Whilst we are satisfied with our defence and there is optimism from within the EU, we await the outcomes of the EU finance ministers’ discussions on January 23”.
Inniss is expected to lead a small delegation to meetings with the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development (OECD) and EU in Paris next Monday in keeping with the island’s strategy “to continue to be fully engaged in the international fora on matters relevant to our international business and financial services sector”.
Inniss, who had previously described the blacklisting as “unfortunate and unfair”, has pledged to stoutly defend the island’s reputation, while maintaining that Barbados is a fully cooperative jurisdiction when it comes to taxation matters, and that it has made the required commitments to either amend or eradicate its regimes that are not in line with EU specifications.
Also recommended for removal from the dubious list are Grenada, Panama, Macau, Mongolia, Tunisia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.