Vila Times

The Marshall Islands removed from EU tax havens blacklist

The Marshall Islands removed from EU tax havens blacklist
The Marshall Islands removed from EU tax havens blacklist
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European Union removed the Marshall Islands, as well as Bahrain, and Saint Lucia, from its blacklist of tax havens, leaving only six jurisdictions on it, an EU document shows.

The jurisdictions that remain on the blacklist are American Samoa, Guam, Namibia, Palau, Samoa and Trinidad and Tobago.

Bahrain, the Marshall Islands and Saint Lucia are to be delisted after they made “specific commitments” to adapt their tax rules and practices to EU standards, the document says. Those commitments are not public, Reuters reports.

The Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands and St Kitts and Nevis were added to the blacklist, leaving the total number of blacklisted countries to be the same.

“This ever-decreasing list of tax havens will soon be so short it will be able to fit on a post-it. It’s time for the EU to publish how it chooses which countries go on the list and why,” said Elena Gaita, of Transparency International EU, an anti-corruption watchdog.

In the last cut, EU governments decided to remove Barbados, Grenada, South Korea, Macau, Mongolia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Panama.

Panama’s delisting caused particular outcry. The EU process to set up a tax-haven blacklist was triggered by publication of the Panama Papers, documents that showed how wealthy individuals and multinational corporations use offshore schemes to reduce their tax bills.

Ministers said January’s delisting signaled that the process was working as countries around the world were agreeing to adopt EU standards on tax transparency.

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  • Policy reversals represent a particular type of policy change. Reversals refer specifically to instances when a policy is adopted or discontinued despite previously adopted positions. In cases of reversals, decision makers have reassessed their core values usually because of substantive events in the policy parameter. Although reversals represent a stark redirection, they could not take place without prior institutionalization in the field. We use Title III of the Patriot Act, which deals among other things with money laundering and terrorist financing, to illustrate our point. Tax havens represent a crucial, but neglected, test of deep trends in the international political economy. Over the last decade, and again after the onset of the financial crisis, tax havens have come under sustained pressure from powerful developed states and the international organisations they dominate. Despite their diminutive geographic and power profile, the havens have shown a puzzling resilience. Although like other economies havens have suffered from the financial crisis, they have nevertheless confounded predictions of decline premised on their purported vulnerability to discriminatory financial regulations imposed from onshore. This article explains the continued growth in offshore finance by the rise of new developing country markets. More broadly, the increasing availability of alternative markets means that G7 states are losing the crucial leverage they previously enjoyed by threatening to close their markets. The fortunes of tax havens are thus indicative of a tectonic shift: the rise of developing economies is producing a relative decline in the ability of core G7 states to dominate global economic governance.

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