The Federation of Private Entities of Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic (Fedepricap) said on Wednesday that before including Panama in a blacklist of tax havens, the European Union (EU) had to consider the actions taken by the isthmus to prevent national and international tax evasion.
In a statement at the 26th Ordinary Assembly of the Fedepricap, the businessmen noted that at this meeting they received a report from the Panama’s National Council of the Private Enterprise (Conep) of such actions to strengthen issues of financial transparency.
"We believe that these efforts should be weighted to avoid Panama’s inclusion in a Europen Union blacklist of tax havens," they said.
The businessmen warned that this EU’s decision "may affect the competitiveness of Panama and the Central American region".
Fedepricap said it will support Panama and the member countries in taking actions that "strengthen the necessary controls without affecting competitiveness of the region".
Conep’s and new President of the Fedepricap Aida Michelle Ureña de Maduro told Acan-Efe that the inclusion in EU list "affects Panama, and undoubtedly the relations of Panama with the region."
“Panama has made a series of efforts to comply with all the guidelines requested in terms of transparency and tax information, and every time we meet a new requirement we wake up with news like today's of the inclusion of the country in a list as a tax haven,” Maduro said.
President of the Conep Severo Sousa told Acan-Efe that this business union rejects "categorically" the EU decision to include Panama in its list of tax havens.
Sousa considered that it is time for Panama to have a "stronger position" as a government country, in consensus with the Panamanian private sector, to "go out and publish in the different forums and international spheres" the "issues of transparency which have been dealt with".
"Panama is really willing, not now, as usual, to stand outside any kind of criminal activity," added Sousa, but he said that if "a partner as strong as the EU informs the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) about Panama’s lack of fulfillment, it is difficult for the FATF to get out of this context ".
EU Economy and Finance Ministers adopted on Tuesday the first blacklist of tax havens of the community club, which has included 17 countries and jurisdictions, and Panama.