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Antigua and Barbuda Responds To EU Blacklist

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
01 July, 2015

Antigua and Barbuda has called for an apology from the EU Commission for the territory's recent inclusion on its tax "blacklist," describing the territory's nomination as "unjust" and the list as "arbitrary" and "fatally flawed."

In a strongly worded letter to Ambassador Mikael Barford, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Prime Minister Gaston Browne documented his government's impassioned objection to Antigua and Barbuda being named by the Commission of the European Union as a "tax haven" in a list published on June 17, 2015.

Browne said that his government totally objects to the assertion that Antigua and Barbuda is a "non-cooperative" jurisdiction, noting that the label will have caused considerable harm to Antigua and Barbuda and many other territories listed.

Browne's letter said: "In the case of Antigua and Barbuda, the jurisdiction has been found to be in compliance with the highest international standards of transparency and exchange of information, as set by the Global Forum of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), of which EU countries are members. Indeed, since the publication of the EU list, the OECD Global Forum has disassociated itself from the action of the EU and underscored the fact that it is [its] assessment which is the relevant assessment for the purposes of determining a country's cooperation in tax matters."

"In the circumstances, my Government regards the criteria by which Antigua and Barbuda has been named on the EU list of 'tax havens' as fatally flawed."

According to the Commission, Antigua and Barbuda was included on its list because ten EU members named the jurisdiction as "non- cooperative," namely: Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

Browne said: "These are countries with which Antigua and Barbuda does little or no business. Antigua and Barbuda has not received any requests for information from these ten countries that it has refused. It is also significant that the EU countries, such as Britain and France, with which Antigua and Barbuda does significant transactions, did not name our jurisdiction."

"In damaging the reputation of Antigua and Barbuda – and many other Caribbean countries that appear on the extremely defective list – the EU Commission may well have infringed the terms of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and Caribbean countries."

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