UAE bemoans inclusion on EU tax haven blacklist

UAE bemoans inclusion on EU tax haven blacklist
2 min read
13 March, 2019
The UAE on Tuesday denounced the EU for including the country on a blacklist of 'tax havens', saying it had made efforts to comply with EU regulations.
The UAE was included on the list in 2017, but it promised reforms [Getty]
The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday denounced a European Union decision to add it to a tax haven blacklist, despite the Gulf state's efforts to meet EU requirements.

The EU on Tuesday added 10 countries to the list, created over a year ago in an effort to battle tax evasion by the wealthy. The UAE and Oman were among those included.

"This inclusion was made despite the UAE's close cooperation with the EU on this issue and ongoing efforts to fulfil all the EU's requirements," an official statement cited by state news agency WAM said late on Tuesday.

The UAE had been included on the EU's initial 2017 list, but later removed it after Emirati officials promised the country would meet EU requirements. Tunisia and Bahrain were also included on the list.

The Gulf state and its neighbour Oman were moved from a grey list as the EU said their reform commitments had not been met.

It argued on Tuesday that the country had shared with the EU a "detailed timeline of actions" it was implementing "in accordance with its sovereign legal progress".

"The UAE remains firmly committed to its long-standing policy of meeting the highest international standards on taxation," it said, adding that the country would continue to update its legislation.

'Name and shame'

Its inclusion on the blacklist came despite the objections of EU member Italy, a major destination for Emirati investment.

Rome reportedly agreed to the UAE's inclusion on the blacklist following guarantees the country would be removed after meeting EU standards.

The so-called "name and shame" blacklist was first drawn up in 2017 in the wake of scandals including the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks, which pushed the EU into a renewed fight against tax evasion by multinationals and the rich.

The list intends to shame countries into meeting EU standards.

The latest decision also moved seven countries, including the UAE's neighbour Oman, back from a grey list because reform commitments had not been met.

"Thanks to the listing process, dozens of countries have abolished harmful tax regimes and have come into line with international standards on transparency and fair taxation," EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said in a statement.

The EU proposed last month to add Saudi Arabia to a money-laundering blacklist of countries which do little to impede the financing of terrorism and organised crimes.

Pressure from Saudi Arabia, the US and some EU member states has led to fears that the country will be dropped from the blacklist.

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