While news that Barbados has been removed from the European Union’s (EU) list of uncooperative tax jurisdictions has been welcomed by the business community here, head of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) Charles Herbert is warning that the country is not yet out of the woods.
Barbados is among eight countries, including fellow Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state Grenada, as well as Korea, Macao, Mongolia, Panama, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, that have been moved to a separate category of jurisdictions, subject to close monitoring.
In a statement, the EU council said it had agreed that “a delisting was justified in light of an expert assessment of the commitments made by the jurisdictions to address deficiencies identified by the EU”.
It noted that these commitments were backed by letters signed at a high political level.
However, in response to the latest development, Herbert told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that while he was elated with the EU’s decision, he wished to urge Government to act quickly to ensure that Barbados was placed on a whitelist.
“It is good news that we are delisted. I have not seen the details but I understand that it was a conditional delisting in that there are things that we promise to do in order to stay delisted. However, this is by no means the end because while I would not want to detract from the fact that it is good news, we now have to get our act together and put all things in place in the specified time frame. It is a good start but we are not out of the woods yet,” Herbert said.
The BPSA president further noted that the next step may not be as simple as implementing the requirements of the EU, as Government and the international business sector must first analyze the details to determine if any of the measures can seriously harm the sector.
“I don’t know what these things are but I think that they now receive careful consideration because some of those things would be good for you while others may not be so good for you. So we now need Government, together with the offshore sector, to carefully look at the conditions and if we decide that we can comply then we have to do everything possible to get it done within the specified time frame,” Herbert stressed.
Government had mounted a strong lobby to have the island removed from the blacklist, after the island was named on the list on December 5, last year, of jurisdictions not doing enough to crackdown on offshore avoidance schemes.
Nine countries, including St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, remain on the EU blacklist.
In its statement the EU strongly advised countries remaining on the list to make the changes requested of them as their tax legislation, policies and administrative practices result, or may result, in a loss of revenue for the EU member states.
The statement added that pending such changes, the EU and the member states could apply defensive measures.