The Macau government will thoroughly study the European Union’s official documentation on its recent decision to include Macau on its controversial list of 17 “non-cooperative tax jurisdictions”, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said Tuesday, stressing the aim was to convince Brussels to remove Macau from the list.
According to a statement by the Office of the Chief Executive, Chui made the remarks during a meeting with consul-generals from EU member countries at the government’s Santa Sancha guesthouse.
The statement said Chui had told the diplomats accredited in Macau that he did not agree with the EU decision because Macau “has been cooperating actively with the international community”, namely the EU and the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in fighting cross-border tax evasion and avoidance and promoting fiscal justice.
Chui was quoted as saying that after receiving the EU documentation on the issue; the government would deepen its analysis of the matter and keep in touch with the EU about it.
Chui made the remarks after the head of the EU Office to Hong Kong and Macau, Carmen Cano, briefed the meeting on the EU’s “tax haven” list. The office is based in Hong Kong but simultaneously accredited in Macau.
Chui also said that his government was preparing Macau’s accession to the OECD-inspired Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. Chui stressed he expected Macau to be removed from the “tax haven” list after meeting the convention’s requirements.
The EU’s first-ever list of non-cooperative tax jurisdiction was agreed by the finance ministers of EU member states during a meeting in Brussels on December 5.
According to an EU statement on that day, the “tax haven” listing is a “dynamic one”.
The EU statement said that “as a first step, a letter will be sent to all jurisdictions on the EU list, explaining the decision and what they can do to be de-listed”.
Macau’s listing as a “tax haven” has been generally met with surprise and rejection by local government officials and commentators.
Macau was the only Chinese jurisdiction included in the list, which also includes South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Tuesday’s meeting also discussed further cooperation between the EU and Macau and Macau’s future development plans, such as the city’s participation in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) project which also includes Hong Kong and Guangdong, according to the statement by Chui’s office.