The local government said Tuesday that it welcomed the decision by the European Union (EU) to remove Macau from an embarrassing blacklist of tax havens earlier in the day.
However, according to international newswires, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici told reporters in Brussels that Macau would remain on the EU’s grey list of jurisdictions under the radar by Brussels for their unwavering commitment to multilateral tax arrangements.
Those found wavering in their commitment face a return to the black list of tax havens, Moscovici said.
In a statement by the Government Spokesperson’s Office (GPV) Tuesday, the local government reaffirmed it believed that the EU took a “unilateral and biased” decision to include Macau in a blacklist of tax havens on December 5 last year.
“The government of the Macau Special Administrative Region reiterates its effort to work together with the international community on fighting against cross-border tax evasion as well as actively improving the work in the scope of tax transparency and fair taxation,” the statement said.
The EU’s first-ever list of “non-cooperative tax jurisdictions” was agreed by the finance ministers of EU member states during a meeting in Brussels early last month.
The blacklist at that time included 17 countries and regions: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
Macau was the only blacklisted Chinese jurisdiction.
The EU announced yesterday that it decided to remove eight countries and regions from the blacklist of tax havens: Barbados, Grenada, Macau, Mongolia, Panama, South Korea, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Citing an unnamed EU source, government-owned broadcaster TDM reported yesterday that Macau was removed from the black list after the local government pledged last month to ink the Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) developed by the OECD Global Forum Working Group on Effective Exchange of Information.
The statement by the local government implicitly referred to the upcoming signing of the agreement by pointing out that the central government has given its green light for Macau to sign an international document on the matter.