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Alex Rosaria, the State Secretary of Finance for the Netherlands Antilles, has this week called on the Tax Directorate of the European Commission to remove the jurisdiction from tax haven 'blacklists' in some EU member states.
Mr Rosaria argued that the Netherlands Antilles is committed to providing a leading edge financial service industry with high-end supervision in line with international standards to protect the consumer.
He observed that: “We are an active and a complying member of various international organizations such as the OECD, the Egmont Group, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF)."
The Netherlands Antilles is recognized by the OECD as a co-operative jurisdiction; in April 2008 the Egmont Group gave the Netherlands Antilles its seal of approval, and the IMF in its most recent Article IV Consultation concluded that “The financial sector of the Netherlands Antilles is broadly healthy".
As Mr Rosaria explained on Monday:
“Any reference to us being a tax haven” is totally misguided, contradictory and unjust. If we were a tax haven Spain would not have concluded a Tax Information Exchange Treaty with us in June 2008”.
Mr Rosaria revealed, however, that the reaction from the Tax Directorate so far has been somewhat unsatisfactory, explaining that:
“The EC claims it can not intervene on our behalf to correct the above mentioned unjust inclusion on black lists of some EU members because EU Members are autonomous in their tax matters."
"This statement seems very curious especially when we note that in the case of imposing actions to promote what the EU calls good tax governance the EC does have the authority to act on behalf of the EU Members."
“Why does the argument of autonomy of the individual EU Member not apply when the EU takes actions to promote good tax governance on the Netherlands Antilles?"
"And why does it apply when the Netherlands Antilles request the EC, not for a favor mind you, but to simply correct an error that has been made by some EU members?" Rosaria asked.
The State Secretary for Finance concluded: “The EC must understand that we demand a level playing field, that we can not be held to higher standards than is demanded of other OECD Member and especially that I must do everything in my power to guard our international financial services industry from further erosion. Black listing seriously undermines the competitiveness of the Netherlands Antilles’ financial services sector and consequently the well-being of our people."A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining offshore confidentiality is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report1.asp
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