The uneven playing field

IN March, five Pacific Islands Countries – American Samoa, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Samoa and Vanuatu – suddenly found themselves on the European Union’s revised list of noncooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, otherwise widely known as the EU tax blacklist.

The revised list was released after a meeting of the Council of the European Union in Brussels in early March and punishes countries that maintain what the EU considers to be “harmful” tax incentives in their list of tax giveaways.

The list has had its share of criticism from some countries, who label it as an almost draconian move that ignores the economic realities on the ground in each of these countries.

International lawyer John Ridgway, Head of Legal Services, Pacific Legal Network (PLN) Australia, is also critical of the EU’s decision. Ridgway, who is a Reserve Bank of Fiji licensed Investment Advisor Representative and a former Chairman of the Vanuatu Financial Centre Association, spoke to Islands Business on the issue.

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