President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), Marlon Waldron, has described the European Union’s blacklisting of Barbados as “unfair” but stressed it should not be flippantly dismissed.

On Tuesday, the EU finance ministers adopted a blacklist of 17 tax havens that they deemed as not cooperative on tax matters. In addition to Barbados, the list included Caribbean neighbours Grenada, St Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Waldron said the blacklisting had serious implications for Barbados as it might discourage new companies from doing business with the island.

He said the foreign reserves were already strained and the international business was the sole sector in Barbados that was a net foreign exchange earner.

“I can tell you that we have companies on the island that are very concerned,

because when a country is placed on a list, what it does is it increases the risk profile of the companies that are on the island . . . . When risk is increased it means that somewhere along the line you are looking at some kind of cost.

“For BIBA, any listing like that is concerning and we certainly cannot dismiss it. We certainly believe it is unfair, given the fact that there has been so much communication between the two parties. However, one cannot dismiss it flippantly,” he said.

Waldron could not say how long it would take for Barbados to be removed from the list, though he noted it would take “some time”.

Noting that Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss and his team, along with the new director of international business Kevin Hunte had been working assiduously on this matter, Waldron pledged to work hand in hand with them to ensure Barbados was placed on the white list.

Article taken from the Friday, December 8th, 2017 Weekend Nation Page 4.