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.