Barbados unclear why it was targeted by EU
During a recent press conference, Donville Inniss, Barbados' Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, responded to Barbados' inclusion within an EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in taxation.
Minister Inniss outlined Barbados' cooperative engagement with the EU throughout the evaluation process and provided a detailed chronology of the interactions between the EU authorities and Barbados officials as the island nation worked diligently to address all concerns expressed by the EU's Code of Conduct Group. Despite committing to amend all of the regimes deemed to be in question by the EU, and within the required timeframe, Barbados was included within an EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in taxation.
"It is the view of the Barbados Government therefore that to include Barbados in Annex 1 listed as a non-cooperative tax jurisdiction is extremely unfortunate and unfair in light of, and despite, Barbados' recent direct engagement with the EU Code of Conduct Group over the past months," said Minister Inniss.
By letter dated November 27, 2017, Barbados communicated directly to the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union and the Code of Conduct Group of the EU that Barbados is committed to amending the following regimes:
- International Business Companies,
- International Societies with Restricted Liability,
- International Trusts,
- Qualifying Insurance Companies,
- Exempt Insurance Companies,
- International Financial Services Act, and
- The Foreign Credit for Qualifying Overseas Projects.
Actions planned by Barbados in light of the EU publication will be as follows:
- Barbados will request the EU for an urgent review of the rather unfortunate listing,
- Given that the Caribbean region will continue to be under scrutiny from multinational organisations, Barbados will request a regional dialogue on the matter with the goal of establishing a regional team of experts to engage with external parties led by CARICOM, and
- Barbados will engage all of its officials and private sector partners to continue to educate our multi-national partners on these issues.
To properly understand Barbados' role as a pre-eminent offshore financial jurisdiction within the global economy and the EU market specifically, it is important to note that Barbados has double taxation agreements in force with ten of the twenty-eight EU member countries namely Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and is in the process of concluding treaties with Portugal, Slovak Republic, Cyprus and Belgium. Barbados also has tax information agreements in force with Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands and is awaiting signature of similar agreements with France and Germany.
In addition to being signatory to several bi-lateral agreements, it is also important to note that Barbados is committed to signing the OECD's Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (often referred to as the Multilateral Instrument or MLI) in Paris on January 24, 2018.
Collectively, these actions demonstrate that Barbados continues to be highly cooperative and committed to the implementation of EU and OECD taxation standards. Barbados is a well-regulated, transparent, jurisdiction of substance. Minister Inniss concluded, "I wish to state forcefully that Barbados is NOT a non-cooperative jurisdiction in taxation matters or any other matter. We are and remain cooperative but true to our ideals and policies as a sovereign nation as we strive to be the international financial jurisdiction of choice."
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