Last updated: 6 December 2017, 6:23 am
Grenada and St Lucia have been named on a European Union blacklist of territories deemed to be tax havens.
The grouping is part of unprecedented steps to tackle worldwide tax avoidance in the wake of numerous disclosures of offshore tax avoidance schemes.
Also on the list are American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
According to Nikolas Steele, Grenada’s international business minister, the country is yet to receive official confirmation of its embarrassing inclusion.
“We were aware of the monitoring done, but right now we only saw the list online and are awaiting communications from the EU as to what are the reasons or the reason for us be placed on the list,” he said, reports Now Grenada.
There has yet to be an official statement from the St Lucian government.
According to Reuters, blacklisted countries may no longer be used by EU institutions for international financial operations, and transactions involving them could be subject to closer scrutiny.
WIC News understands that the list will be updated regularly.
The move was hailed as a vital “first step” but the failure of the member states to agree on any sanctions for those on the blacklist provoked the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, Pierre Moscovici, to concede it was as yet “an insufficient response”.
Aurore Chardonnet, Oxfam’s EU policy adviser on inequality and tax, voiced concerns that the bloc had so far picked only on smaller countries.
She is quoted in The Guardian as saying: “It is disturbing to see mostly small countries on the EU blacklist, while the most notorious tax havens got away on the ‘grey list’.
“The EU has to make sure governments on the grey list follow up on their commitments, or else they must be blacklisted.”
A second public ‘grey list’ or ‘watchlist’, of 47 jurisdictions that have committed to changing their tax rules to abide by EU standards on transparency and cooperation was also adopted.
This second list includes Switzerland, Turkey and Hong Kong.
Eight Caribbean countries that suffered extensive hurricane damage this year —Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos and the US Virgin Islands — have been given extra time to respond to the EU’s request and do not appear on any list.