BRIDGETOWN (CMC) — The Barbados government has welcomed the decision of the European Union to remove the island from a list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, saying that “it has tangible meaning for us”.
The Council of the European Union Friday said it had removed Aruba, Barbados and Bermuda from its list, noting that in the case of Barbados, the island has made commitments at a high political level to remedy EU concerns regarding the replacement of its harmful preferential regimes by a measure of similar effect, whilst Aruba and Bermuda have now completed their commitments.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley told reporters that Bridgetown was thankful for the EU’s position, and that the removal meant “insurance companies that could have left us will not now do so, because they will not be prohibited from doing business in Europe as a result of the blacklist. So this has tangible meaning for us”.
But she noted that there were still problems to overcome.
“It doesn’t mean that the battle is over, because we live in a world, quite frankly, that persons will want to continue to extract every competitive advantage that they can.
“Competitive advantage also comes from the perspective of the imposition of rules — bureaucracy that will act as a non-tariff barrier in real terms to keep some countries uncompetitive,” said Mottley, acknowledging also that the world was constantly changing and evolving, and said she believed the day will come when companies are either taxed differently or have no tax at all.
“I truly believe that corporation tax over the next 20 to 30 years may not exist in the same way because it is too difficult for governments to track, so that more governments will tax transactions and tax assets,” she told reporters.
The EU list was established in December 2017 and was revised in March this year, following an in-depth review of the implementation of the commitments taken by third -country jurisdictions that are part of the process.
The EU said that while the three Caribbean countries had been removed from its blacklist, 12 jurisdictions remain on the list of non-cooperative jurisdiction — including Belize, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the US Virgin Islands.
“The work on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions is a dynamic process. The council will continue to regularly review and update the list in 2019, whilst it has requested a more stable process as from 2020,” the council added.
Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries have consistently condemned the decision by the EU to place regional countries on its so-called black list, and Caricom foreign ministers, who ended a two-day meeting in Grenada earlier this week, said in a statement that they had taken note of the strategies put in place to address the issue of blacklisting.