The Ministry of Financial Services has been advancing the discussion surrounding the European Union's assessment of jurisdictions' tax regimes with key audiences; namely EU officials, Cayman Islands Government officials and local financial services industry representatives.
Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers travelled to Belgium last month to discuss Cayman's position with EU officials. Upon her return to the Cayman Islands, Minister Rivers addressed her fellow Government Caucus members on Monday, 1 October, on the latest EU developments before meeting with representatives from all of Cayman's financial services industry associations on Tuesday, 2 October.
Over 30 industry association representatives were in attendance on Tuesday as Minister Rivers provided an update on the work undertaken by the Ministry and the various industry working groups over the summer, and discussed the progress made to date.
Minister Rivers gave a comprehensive overview of Government's process of constantly engaging with the local and EU audiences; and underscored Government's commitment to continue the robust engagement process. She thanked the industry representatives for working diligently in helping to inform the legislative proposals, and encouraged their continued participation.
'While developments on this matter remain fluid, the Government and the Ministry have been and are committed to getting input from a wide cross section of industry representatives every step of the way; and to making decisions that are in the best interest of the Cayman Islands as a whole', Minister Rivers said.
While in Brussels, Minister Rivers, along with the Department of Financial Services Policy and Legislation's Director Michelle Bahadur and the department's special projects coordinator Anna Goubault, met with EU officials the week of 17 September to update them on the ongoing work regarding good governance in taxation.
In particular, the Ministry delegation met with:
- The Cabinet of Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union;
- Officials from the European Commission's Directorate General for Taxation and Customs (DG TAXUD); and
- Representatives from many Permanent Representations to the EU, including the current EU Council President and Permanent Representation of Austria.
As the list of cooperative jurisdictions that have undertaken commitments is currently being reviewed, the Minister and her team updated these key decision-makers on the efforts already made and the work planned by Government to enhance tax transparency and cooperation with the EU, as appropriate.
The delegation also addressed a number of questions regarding the financial industry in the Cayman Islands, in an attempt to increase the general understanding of its role as an international financial centre and clarified Government's position on some key-elements in the screening process (the so-called 2.2 criterion). The delegation also received relevant and useful feedback in relation to the legislative proposals that are currently in the making.
Minister Rivers welcomed the opportunity for direct engagement to discuss the issues: 'All meetings took place in a very constructive atmosphere. The visit, together with earlier visits this year and in 2017, has helped to underscore Cayman's commitment to ongoing cooperation with the EU on matters that are of mutual interest and benefit. Hopefully, this ongoing dialogue with the EU officials and Member State representatives also promotes an increased understanding that our financial system is not designed to facilitate harmful tax practices', she said.
The process of addressing the EU screening criteria during 2017 involved discussions with industry representatives throughout; however, Government's and the Ministry's conversations with all Cayman Islands stakeholders have increased since 5 December 2017, when the EU named the Cayman Islands as one of 47 jurisdictions that needed to ensure that further work is done to satisfy the EU criteria.
Minister of Financial Services the Hon. Tara Rivers with H.E. Mr Alexander Kmentt of Austria, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Political and Security Committee of the EU.
Minister of Financial Services the Hon. Tara Rivers addressed members of Cayman's financial services industry on Tuesday, 2 October 2018.
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