The United Arab Emirates (UAE) yesterday condemned its inclusion in a European Union (EU) tax haven blacklist, official WAM reported.
The Arab world’s second-largest economy was one of 15 countries to be added to the list, despite the UAE’s efforts to meet EU requirements.
“This inclusion was made despite the UAE’s close cooperation with the EU on this issue and ongoing efforts to fulfill all the EU’s requirements,” an Emirati official told WAM, adding that the Emirates had provided the EU with “a detailed timetable, including a series of actions that are being carried out, in line with sovereign legal procedures and constitutional requirements.”
“The UAE will continue to update its domestic legislative framework in this regard,” the official stressed.
The EU blacklist was first drawn up in 2017 in the wake of scandals including the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks, which prompted the EU to take series actions towards combating tax evasion by multinationals and the super-rich.
David Daley, partner at Gulf Tax Accounting Group in Dubai, told the agency that the decision implied that UAE residents and companies would face additional scrutiny and due diligence when conducting financial transactions in the European bloc.
“The decision could impose laborious and time-consuming procedures for firms or people moving funds or buying property in the EU if they reside or earn in the UAE,’’ he warned.
The blacklist also included American Samoa, Guam, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and US Virgin Islands. New entrants are Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Oman, and Vanuatu.
On Tuesday, the European Commissioner for Economic, Financial, Tax and Customs Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, said that the listing process “had abolished harmful tax regimes, in line with international standards of transparency and fair taxation.”