Estonia gives up opposition to adding UAE to European Union tax havens list

Abu Dhabi. The UAE was one of 15 countries named in the European Commission's expanded list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

"In light of this we expect Bermuda, and other compliant jurisdictions, to be removed from the list at the next available opportunity", the British representative added.

State news agency WAM reported that the United Arab Emirates says it regrets the European Union's decision to blacklist it, and that it has shared with the bloc a detailed plan of the action it is now undertaking.

The EU welcomed action taken by 60 countries to address and resolve the concerns raised adding that "over 100 harmful regimes were eliminated", while the list was cited as having a positive influence on internationally agreed tax governance standards.

Bermuda Premier David Burt expressed his surprise and disappointment at the EU's decision during a press conference yesterday, in which he stated that he believes the country has worked hard to craft a tax regime that now meets the required standards.

The 28-nation European Union set up a tax haven blacklist nearly two years ago after revelations of widespread tax avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals.

Italy has long resisted the addition of the United Arab Emirates to the EU's tax haven blacklist, with the Middle East powerhouse recently making significant investments in the economically troubled European country.

In a statement issued by UAE, it relayed the fact that the government "shared with the European Union a detailed timeline of actions that it is now implementing in accordance with its sovereign legal process and constitutional requirements", however UAE stated they were denied an extension for their tax reform plan to be fully implemented, Channel News Asia reported.

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John Wight, president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is regrettable that Bermuda has been included in the list of non-co-operative jurisdictions for tax purposes given our long-recognised reputation as a centre of regulatory excellence.

"The UAE remains firmly committed to its long-standing policy of meeting the highest worldwide standards on taxation", it said.

Reuters says it has seen the European Union documents that show Italy and Estonia objected to the new tax haven list, as they opposed the inclusion of the United Arab Emirates.

The final list didn't come without drama, with Romanian finance minister Eugen Teodorovici suggesting ahead of the meeting that there would be no agreement at Tuesday's session.

The Netherlands would veto the listing of its overseas territory of Aruba if the EAU was removed from the draft list, according to the document and two European officials.

The EU agreed to begin compiling a list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in December 2017 to tackle risks of tax abuse and unfair competition.

Italy said the UAE - a federation of emirates, which include the top financial hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi - had "constitutional constraints" that justified its delay in changing rules.

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