December 06, 2017 12:54
Korea has been included on a European Union blacklist of offshore tax havens.
EU finance ministers met in Brussels and put 17 countries, including Korea, on the blacklist. Korea keeps company with Bahrain, Barbados, Mongolia, Namibia, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Tobago, Trinidad and the UAE.
Late last year, the EU placed 92 countries on its blacklist of offshore tax havens and asked them to provide detailed data for assessments. It apparently took issue with Korea's lack of transparency in offering tax breaks to foreign companies who invest in the certain economic zones.
The blacklisting came after the massive corruption scandal that brought down ex-President Park Geun-hye exposed intimate collusion between government and big business here.
The list covers countries that either have problems with tax regulations and are not willing to comply with EU requirements.
Reuters said the 47 countries that promised to revise their tax laws were placed on a "gray list." It is unclear what sanctions the EU will impose on the blacklisted ones.
Korea rejected the decision. "The EU's decision is unacceptable as giving tax benefits to lure foreign investment is a common practice and is also being implemented by EU member countries," an official at the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said.
Countries that charge unusually low or no taxes are hotbeds of corporate tax evasion and hidden assets, but they are mainly small islands in the Caribbean, the Pacific, the Atlantic, or in the Third World.
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