Jamaica Gleaner / The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has strongly objected to the European Union’s recent labelling of some of its member states as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque said on Wednesday.

He was at the time accrediting a new Ambassador of France to CARICOM, Antoine Joly at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

LaRocque urged France to leverage its influence for the EU to desist from “taking such arbitrary and punitive actions against” CARICOM states it had blacklisted.

Those countries, he emphasized, have not been so labelled by the relevant regulatory authorities such as the Financial Action Task Force and the OECD Global Forum.

“This decision by the EU has been based on new and unilaterally-determined criteria, that go beyond the generally accepted international tax transparency and accountability standards which our countries have been diligently meeting over the past several years,” LaRocque said.

“CARICOM strongly objects to this listing of our member states and calls on the EU to remove our member states from this pernicious list,” he added, noting that the community stood ready to discuss the matter with the European Council.

A major consequence of blacklisting was the de-risking strategies that included the withdrawal of correspondent banking services by certain international banks, the CARICOM Secretary-General told the French envoy.

He said that the impact has had a “detrimental impact on the trade and financial operations” of the region’s economies.

“As Ambassador to the Community, your direct engagement in promoting awareness about the extent of our capabilities and the obstacles we face in our aspirations for economic development is of great significance,” LaRocque told the Ambassador.

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