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The recent decision by the European Commission to blacklist Antigua and Barbuda, along with Belize and the Seychelles, as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions has been a cause of concern for the government of Antigua and Barbuda.
Information Minister Melford Nicholas has expressed his disappointment with what he sees as bullying tactics by international bodies, including the EU.
The EU Council cited a lack of constructive dialogue on tax governance and failure to implement necessary reforms as reasons for the blacklisting.
Specifically, the countries were found to be lacking in the exchange of tax information on request – criterion 1.2 – as assessed by a Code of Conduct Group that reviews peer-reviewed reports issued by the Global Forum.
While Antigua and Barbuda is committed to compliance with international regulations, the government has expressed frustration with the constant pressure to amend legislation and protocols to satisfy the obligations of international bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The Cabinet spokesperson is confident that whatever issues caused Antigua and Barbuda to be placed on the EU blacklist will be rectified shortly.
It is important to note that Antigua and Barbuda, like other small developing states, has been grappling with the effects of international pressure on its offshore financial sector.
Nevertheless, the government remains committed to multilateral cooperation and will engage in constructive dialogue to address any concerns raised by international bodies such as the European Council.