BREAKING NEWS: Saint Lucia ‘blacklisted’ by European Union

By BBC

Castries Harbour, Saint Lucia.

(BBC) – The European Union has published its first blacklist of tax havens, naming 17 territories including Saint Lucia, Barbados and South Korea.

A “watchlist” of 47 countries promising to change their tax rules to meet EU standards has also been issued.

The “grey list” includes several with UK links, including Hong Kong, Jersey, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, as well as Switzerland and Turkey.

Both lists have been criticised as omitting the most notorious tax havens.

The lists follow the leaking of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, revealing how companies and individuals hid their wealth from tax authorities around the world in offshore accounts.

EU tax commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the blacklist represented “substantial progress”, adding: “Its very existence is an important step forward. But because it is the first EU list, it remains an insufficient response to the scale of tax evasion worldwide.”

To determine whether a country is a “non-cooperative jurisdiction” the EU index measures the transparency of its tax regime, tax rates and whether the tax system encourages multinationals to unfairly shift profits to low tax regimes to avoid higher duties in other states. In particular these include tax systems that offer incentives such as 0% corporate tax to foreign companies.

EU members have been left to decide what action to take against the offenders. Ministers ruled out imposing a withholding tax on transactions to tax havens as well as other financial sanctions.

Some states, such as Luxembourg and Malta, opposed stricter sanctions, according to officials. EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said “stronger countermeasures would have been preferable”.

Panama is one of the 17 countries listed by the EU but its president, Juan Carlos Varela, said the country was “not in any way a tax haven”.

The EU is encouraging member states to take what it calls “defensive actions” against those countries that do not reform their tax systems.

The UK-based charity Oxfam last week published its own list of 35 countries that it said should be blacklisted.

Oli Pearce, Oxfam’s inequality and tax policy advisor, said: “It is disturbing to see mostly small countries on the EU blacklist, while the most notorious tax havens – UK-linked places like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Jersey and the Virgin Islands – escape with a place on the ‘grey list’.

“Although we recognise this is a step in the right direction, if EU leaders let too many tax havens off the hook we’ll all lose out. A place on the grey list must not mean tax havens get off scot-free.”

However, tax campaigner Richard Murphy said some countries on the grey list could still face heavy sanctions if they failed to reform their tax systems.

He said EU countries will be encouraged to disallow payments made to these places for tax purposes, or to charge withholding taxes on interest payments to them.

That tactic could “utterly neuter their so-called status as ‘tax neutral international financial centres’ by ensuring that all monies they receive have been taxed before getting there”, Mr Murphy said.

“The EU is also saying to the UK that it is taking real measures against British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, and the message is – if you go the same way as them with a similar low-tax regime after Brexit, you’ll be sanctioned too.”

The 17 blacklisted territories are:

– American Samoa
– Bahrain
– Barbados
– Grenada
– Guam
– South Korea
– Macau
– The Marshall Islands
– Mongolia
– Namibia
– Palau
– Panama
– Saint Lucia
– Samoa
– Trinidad and Tobago
– Tunisia
– United Arab Emirates

The EU made exceptions for countries faced with natural disasters such as hurricanes, and put the process temporarily on hold.

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20 comments

  1. Chastenet is our downfall

    (2)(0)
  2. That's what happens when governments are interventionists and confiscatory in nature. Don't want people to "hide" THEIR money, then reduce the size and scope of your government and stop confiscating in the name of the common good.

    (1)(1)
  3. So why you calling us a "tax haven" when you don't call yourself "tax hiding addicts?" It is you who create the market because you are the addicts.

    Prostitutes are seen as people who are taken advantage of by pimps since the pimps bear the brunt of the responsibility and influence. So why can't you see that we are being taken advantage of by the greedy people in your country. I think its a subject that Chastanet should take up with the EU. Besides we are too poor to combat crime committed by sophisticated rich people. It is just like the drug trade where US and European people are the addicts they know who the suppliers are yet they castigate us for being in the middle. They never go to South America where the cocaine comes from yet come to our country to intercept. If you were not a prostitute then you would not get f----ked. Hey! Get hold of your vices and addictions.

    (5)(4)
  4. Alex Cobham, chief executive of the Tax Justice Network, a U.K-based NGO, called the list "a political fix" and "the result of the flawed blacklisting process...that includes only the economically weak and politically unconnected." Calling E.U. member countries like the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg "the greatest procurers of global profit shifting," he complained that their exclusion rendered the list "hard to take seriously."

    (4)(0)
  5. 'How Europe underdeveloped St. Lucia' oops I mean Africa.... Walter Rodney should be here to see this.

    How these big countries bully us small ones into doing what they want at our own expense is troubling to me.

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  6. EU members are going through the bad part of the capitalism system. Cost of running business are higher in the EU, so they are looking to third world commonwealth where taxes, unions and wage rates and less. In order to help prevent the inevitable, the EU is implying these to save their economies... I estimate we don't need to fish for investors from the a EU... They will be attracted.. I suspect hotel chocolate is a classic example ;0)

    (7)(1)
  7. We are doomed under Chastenet

    (12)(19)
  8. Under a white prime minister we get blacklisted. Lol

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  9. A serious look must be taken at the quality of leadership in the public service. Square pegs in round holes. The persons responsible for this course of action by the EU must be discipline . The numerous expenditure in overseas trips to attend meetings and workshops were all joy rides.
    This has serious consequences for Saint Lucia the culprits should should be identified and faced disciplinary action .

    (9)(13)
  10. There is so much going on out there. I truly understand why the PM must travel often. As a country, we truly do not understand.

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  11. And it has begun! .. The inevitable downward spiral of St Lucia under this present regime.

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  12. Middle finger to the European Union !! Sit on it bastards !!

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  13. Nelson Taylor Sol

    It's quite fascistic from the EU to coerce countries into higher taxes, so that alternative and competition are eliminated. Its self-serving and dictatorial bureaucracy is leaving countries like UK with no choice other than exiting this supranational entity.

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    • Well to be fair they are not concerned about higher taxes the list is primarily concerned that their citizens are hiding their money in our country. We have implemented FATCA but have not complied with the EU version and that's their gripe. Why should it be our problem when your citizens try to evade taxes in your country? Even the queen had undisclosed investments in these countries, so what are you saying "don't blame the queen blame us?

      (4)(0)

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