The United Arab Emirates says it is making efforts to meet "the highest international standards on taxation"
Abu Dhabi (AFP) - The United Arab Emirates has slammed a European Union decision to add it to a tax haven blacklist despite the Gulf state’s efforts to meet EU requirements.
The UAE was one of 10 more countries which the EU on Tuesday put on the list, created in 2017 as part of efforts to battle tax evasion by the wealthy.
“This inclusion was made despite the UAE’s close cooperation with the EU on this issue and ongoing efforts to fulfil all the EU’s requirements,” said an official statement cited by state news agency WAM late Tuesday.
“The UAE remains firmly committed to its long-standing policy of meeting the highest international standards on taxation,” it said.
The UAE “will continue to update its domestic legislative framework in this regard,” it said.
The EU had included the UAE on the first list drawn up in 2017, but later removed it after Emirati officials assured their European counterparts it would meet EU requirements.
The inclusion of the second-largest, most open Arab economy on the revised list came despite the objections of EU member Italy, a major destination for Emirati investment.
The UAE statement argued that it has “shared with the EU a detailed timeline of actions that it is currently implementing in accordance with its sovereign legal process and constitutional requirements.”
In a separate statement, the finance ministry said it was confident the EU will remove the UAE from the blacklist.
“The UAE has made outstanding achievements in 2018, in line with its commitment to transparency and international tax standards,” it said.
The statement listed a number of agreements linked to tax cooperation it has signed with the EU and said it will complete related legislation in the second half of this year.
The blacklist was first drawn up in the wake of scandals including the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks, which had pushed the EU into doing more to fight tax evasion by multinationals and the rich.
The latest decision moved seven countries, including the UAE’s neighbour Oman, back from a grey list because reform commitments had not been met.