"Nothing Else That Dominica Could Have Done" to Prevent EU Blacklisting, Says ECS Ambassador to EU
- Below is the full statement issued by Her Excellency Mrs Sharlene Shillingford-McKlmon, Ambassador of the Eastern Caribbean States Mission to the European Union:
"In March of 2018, Dominica was requested by the EU to make changes to its laws and policies. The deadline stated in the EU letter was December 2018. It means that, in effect, Dominica was given nine months to make these changes. Among the laws that needed amending were the Offshore Banking Act, the International Business Companies Act and the Fiscal Incentives Act. The EU considered that these were preferential regimes and that the Parliament of Dominica needed to approve certain changes. The necessary changes were done to amend the laws in accordance to EU requirements.
The EU also requested that Dominica joined the Convention dealing with base erosion and profit shifting, also known as BEPS. The OECD granted Dominica membership after the necessary legal and policy changes were made by Dominica. Joining these conventions is a long process that usually begins with an invitation by the OECD – and here you should note that joining is not mandatory. The OECD as the internationally recognised body governing tax has not made these mandatory. The EU unilaterally decided to ask countries to join. The important point here is that Dominica did become a member and fulfilled this requirement for the EU.
Now, the outstanding matter relates to joining another OECD tax-related convention on the exchange of information for tax purposes. In this case, Dominica again made the necessary legal and policy changes, it submitted its draft laws, the draft act to the OECD. The OECD accepted the draft law as being in compliance with its requirements and now OECD countries are in the process of internal consultation before issuing an invitation to Dominica to join.
At this stage, there is nothing else for Dominica to do until it hears from the OECD. The EU itself is aware of this and of the OECD internal process. In fact, it is the same EU countries that are also members of the OECD and members of the Tax Convention who need to give Dominica approval to join in order for it to meet the final EU requirement. In this case, we can see that the EU is, in fact, waiting for itself. This is an irony in the process and one that demonstrates how flawed it is and how difficult it can be for small countries such as ours to try to meet the requirements of multiple governance bodies. It is unfortunate that the EU felt it was necessary to blacklist Dominica and we are hopeful that the OECD internal consultation process will soon be over and that Dominica will be given the approval to join and, therefore, to meet the last EU requirement.
I felt that it was necessary to share this because you must know that there was nothing else that Dominica could have done in this matter."