UAE says it expects to be taken off EU's tax blacklist

UAE says it expects to be taken off EU's tax blacklist

"The UAE is fully committed to maintaining the highest global standard of financial supervision and tax regulation, and will continue to work with our worldwide partners to deliver it", said Younis Haji Al-Khouri, UAE's undersecretary of the Finance Ministry.

The EU has named 17 countries - including South Korea, Mongolia, Namibia, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates - in its first ever tax haven blacklist and put a further 47 on notice, including British overseas territories and the crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, in an attempt to crack down on the estimated £506bn lost to tax avoidance every year.

"I, therefore, call on the Finance Ministers to avoid any naivety on commitments", adds Moscovici, as the third countries that have taken commitments must change their tax laws a" s soon as possible", according to the Commissioner, urging national governments and ministers to agree swiftly on "dissuasive national sanctions", and to use all means to keep up the pressure on all of these countries.

BEPS is an agreement signed by some OECD member countries to tackle tax avoidance strategies that allow multinational companies to shift profits artificially to low or no-tax locations.

The EU's penalties on the blacklisted countries still need to be confirmed. "We must not accept unfair tax competition and opacity".

"Some of the biggest players within the realm of tax havens sit at the European Union tables in Brussels - nations like Luxembourg and the Netherlands", Hannah Brejnholt, a political tax consultant with aid organisation Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke, told BT.

He admitted however that some practices should be "prohibited" or "fought" in some member states.

The EU says it will update the list at least annually.

Eurodad, the European Network on Debt and Development, criticised the EU for the lack of will to look at its own member states. The bloc has previously accused the Netherlands and Ireland of granting special tax treatment to Starbucks and Apple, respectively. Among them are Switzerland, Morocco, Turkey, Qatar, Thailand and Hong Kong.

A second public "grey list" or "watchlist", of 47 jurisdictions that have committed to changing their tax rules to abide by European Union standards on transparency and cooperation was also adopted.

The issue has come under scrutiny in the past years following the release of the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers documents which show how corporations and individuals avoid paying taxes through tax havens such as Panama, the Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands. Some states support tough restrictions against the listed tax havens such as exclusion from World Bank or European Union funding but the discussions are still ongoing.