Listen this article
After the approval of the new list, Panama, Peru and Uruguay leave it, while Mexico and Argentina enter into research
On March 12, the Council of Ministers of Economy and Finance of the European Union (Ecofin) updated its blacklist of tax havens in the world, adding 10 countries to the list: the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Vanuatu, Dominica, Barbados, the Marshall Islands. These ten countries join Trinidad and Tobago, Samoa, Guam, American Samoa, and the United States Virgin Islands to make up the list of 15 countries that are listed by Ecofin as tax havens.
In addition to the new countries on the black list, the European Union eliminated 25 countries from the so-called "gray list", which corresponds to jurisdictions that have committed themselves to the EU to modify some of their economic policies in order to avoid tax circumvention, giving good news to the region after eliminating Panama, Peru and Uruguay.
Reflection of the improvement in Panama
Panama was one of the countries that appeared on the first black list of the EU published at the end of 2017. However, according to the newspaper Semana, since January 2018, the country has pledged to cooperate with the EU in order to stop the tax evasion in its territory, which motivated Ecofin to move this Latin American country from the black list to the gray one. However, the Panamanian economist and managing partner of Indesa, Felipe Chapman, stressed that that is the conclusion of a process that takes more than a year, stating that "this only ratifies what Panama has been doing for years to combat practices such as money laundering. "
The Chancellery of Panama welcomed the decision of Ecofin, noting that "the EU evaluated the progress of Panama in terms of transparency and tax cooperation, assessing aspects such as the adoption of the mechanism of automatic exchange consistent with the objectives of the Common Reporting Standard, promoted by the OECD Global Forum; adherence to the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, among others".
However, the exclusion of Panama provoked criticism from the NGO Oxfam, who also do not see how territories like Hong Kong and the Isle of Man have been left out of the black list. "The EU governments have given free rein to five of the most aggressive tax havens, calling into question the legitimacy and the process of drawing up the EU blacklist", said Susana Ruiz, head of tax justice at Oxfam Intermón.
Mexico and Argentina, new candidates
Ecofin also said that Mexico and Argentina would be investigated during this year considering the possibility of adding them to the list that will be published in 2020. The possible inclusion in any of the EU lists could be a detriment to the economy of the countries because, as Diego Franco, an analyst at Franco Group points out, "if they are included as tax havens, this affects the governments of the nations, because there would be less investment, since this community usually requires basic parameters of exchange before negotiating agreements. "
However, after the approval of this year's list, the Romanian Minister of Finance, Eugen Teodorovici recalled that "the purpose of the European Union list (...) is to encourage cooperation, a positive change, not pointing out nor embarrassing". After the exclusion of Panama, Peru and Uruguay from the gray list, the only Latin American country that remains in this list is Costa Rica.
LatinAmerican Post | Juan Diego Bogotá
Translated from "¿Qué países latinoamericanos continúan en la lista de paraísos fiscales de la Unión Europea?"