A month after blacklisting 17 countries for refusing to cooperate on tax evasion, the European Union (EU) has announced it is delisting half of them.
The decision follows “commitments made at a high political level to remedy EU concerns,” according to an EU press release on Tuesday. “Barbados, Grenada, the Republic of Korea, Macao SAR, Mongolia, Panama, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates are moved to a separate category of jurisdictions subject to close monitoring,” the statement said.
It added that the European Council had agreed that the step was justified in light of an expert assessment of the commitments made by those countries.
“Our listing process is already proving its worth,” said Vladislav Goranov, minister for finance of Bulgaria, which currently holds the EU Council presidency. “Jurisdictions around the world have worked hard to make commitments to reform their tax policies. Our aim is to promote good tax governance globally.”
The decision leaves nine countries on the list of ‘non-cooperative jurisdictions’ – American Samoa, Bahrain, Guam, Marshall Islands, Namibia, Palau, Saint Lucia, Samoa and Trinidad and Tobago.
The blacklist was initially announced by the EU on December 5, 2017. To determine whether a country is a “non-cooperative jurisdiction” the EU index measured the transparency of its tax regime and tax rates. It also checked whether the tax system encourages multinationals to unfairly shift profits to low tax regimes, avoiding higher duties in other states.
Forty-seven other nations were included in a public ‘gray’ list of countries which are currently not compliant with EU standards but have committed to change their tax rules. The lists followed the recent Panama Papers and Paradise Papers leaks.