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Panama: European Union ignores the country’s progress

 “Panama adopted the mechanism of automatic exchange consistent with the objectives of the Common Reporting Standard"
  • Oscar Sulbarán

The Juan Carlos Varela Administration recalled its ambassador to the European Union (EU), Dario Chirú, after the inclusion of Panama in a list of tax havens prepared by the EU. Through a communiqué the Isthmian Government described the list as discriminatory. “This list ignores the clear progress of the country in terms of cooperation and fiscal transparency, by irresponsibly indicating that the preferential regime of Panama is ‘harmful’ and that the country did not clearly commit to amend or eliminate it by the end of 2018” the document dated December 5 expresses.

According to the text, Panama has taken the necessary measures to be in line with the international standards of cooperation in fiscal matters: “Panama adopted the mechanism of automatic exchange consistent with the objectives of the Common Reporting Standard, promoted by the OECD Global Forum. In addition, the country acceded to the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, and has joined the Inclusive Framework of the Project on the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)”.

Guilds respond

Carlos Troetsch, president of the Panama Banking Association (ABP) agreed with the Government regarding the efforts that Panama has made to adapt to international standards. In a press release of the ABP, Troetsch said: “We consider that the bar to measure the commitment of the countries has to be the same. Panama has been negatively exposed in the international arena, when in truth the National Government and the operators of the financial system have been and continue to be steadfast in advancing in a rigorous agenda in matters of transparency”.

The Panamanian Association of Business Executives (Apede) considered the inclusion of Panama in the blacklist of the EU unfair and discriminatory.

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