British Virgin Islands government seeks clarification on EU blacklist

european-union-logo_w304The British Virgin Islands (BVI) Government says it is still seeking clarification from the European Union (EU) as to why the British Overseas Territory has been included in a list of countries deemed non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.

The BVI along with a number of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) had been placed on the list earlier this year. The BVI, in a statement Friday, said that its London Office Director and EU Representative Benito Wheatley recently co-chaired an EU/OCT Financial Services Partnership Working Party meeting in Brussels on the issue.

The statement noted that during the session, Director of Policy, Research and Statistics at the BVI Financial Services Commission Cherno Jallow QC, along with other OCT technical experts, held discussions with European Commission officials from the Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD). It said delegates discussed the EU approach taken to the pan-EU blacklist in the context of co-operation between the EU and OCTs under the Overseas Association Decision (OAD).

Jallow underscored the “high international standards that the BVI meets on tax and information exchange recognised by the OECD [the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] and other partners,” the statement said.

It said both sides agreed that the inclusion of OCTs on the list had to be further considered in the context of the co-operation provided in the area of financial services contained in the OAD that is aimed at supporting the sustainable development of the OCTs. “There was a clear understanding that the EU and OCTs are bound together by the Overseas Association Decision, which provides for our co-operation as partners, which entails consultation via policy dialogue on any matters affecting the OCTs’ sustainable development,” said Wheatley about the outcome of the meeting. He said he was pleased that, at a technical level, the European Commission supports the co-operative approach set out in the OAD that will be taken into consideration, as the EU further considers its list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.

The meeting also covered a number of EU initiatives that included operation of the platform for tax good governance, re-launching of the common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB), Tax Rulings, Country-by-Country reporting and administrative co-operation in savings, the statement said.

Jallow also held a meeting with the United Kingdom representative on the European Parliament (MEP), Daniel Dalton, who currently sits on the European Parliament’s Internal Markets Committee.

Dalton was “briefed on the high international standards met by the BVI on tax and transparency during the meeting”, the statement said.

“It was agreed that it was important for the BVI and other British Overseas Territories to continue to engage European parliamentarian members, familiarise them with their concerns and build greater support in the Parliament,” the statement said.

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