The Government of the Virgin Islands has sought further clarification from the European Union (EU) on the inclusion of the Territory and a number of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) associated with the European Union on a pan-EU blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions published earlier this year.
BVI London Office Director and EU Representative, Mr. Benito Wheatley, co-chaired an EU/OCT Financial Services Partnership Working Party meeting held in Brussels on December 7. During the session, Director of Policy, Research and Statistics at the BVI Financial Services Commission, Mr. Cherno Jallow QC, along with other OCT technical experts, held technical discussions with European Commission officials from the Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD).
The participants discussed the EU approach taken to the pan-EU blacklist in the context of cooperation between the EU and OCTs under the Overseas Association Decision (OAD). Mr. Jallow highlighted the high international standards that the BVI meets on tax and information exchange recognised by the OECD and other partners.
Both sides agreed that the inclusion of OCTs on the list had to be further considered in the context of the cooperation provided in the area of financial services contained in the OAD that is aimed at supporting the sustainable development of the OCTs.
Mr. Wheatley, while speaking about the outcome of the meeting said, “There was a clear understanding that the EU and OCTs are bound together by the Overseas Association Decision which provides for our cooperation as partners, which entails consultation via policy dialogue on any matters affecting the OCTs’ sustainable development.”
He added that he was pleased that at a technical level, the European Commission supports the cooperative 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 cooperation in savings.
Mr. Jallow also held a meeting with Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the UK, Mr. Daniel Dalton. Mr. Dalton currently sits on the European Parliament’s Internal Markets Committee and was briefed on the high international standards met by the BVI on tax and transparency during the meeting. 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.
Mr. Wheatley and Mr. Jallow were joined by Ms. Siobhan Flax, BVI London Office Cultural and Social Officer; and Ms. Jehree Clarke, BVI London Office Acting Political Officer.