Mister Speaker, I would like to make this statement by way of an update on the French listing of BVI on its list of non-cooperative states and territories in tax matters.
The BVI has always been a jurisdiction that keeps pace with international standards. And the BVI has always been a jurisdiction that delivers on its commitments. Any suggestion to the contrary is a cause for concern and the reasons must be probed and understood.
Mister Speaker, Sir, since news of this negative listing by France surfaced in the French press at the beginning of December 2019 the International Tax Authority – the BVI competent authority in tax information exchange matters – has positively engaged the French competent authority. This engagement has continued since the addition of BVI to the French list was confirmed in the New Year.
Progress on this matter has been slow but steady and many questions about the basis for the French claims that BVI has not been cooperative remain to be answered.
Therefore, efforts are being made for both competent authorities to meet in person.
As more intelligence becomes available, a determination will be made as to other helpful courses of action although preparations for upcoming French elections may have implications for the timing of any meetings.
In the meantime, Mr. Speaker, the International Tax Authority continues to assist with all on-going requests under any Tax Information Exchange Agreement received by it and in accordance with the terms of such Agreement.
Mister Speaker, although most matters relating to these Agreements remain confidential or sensitive, I appreciate that Honorable Members as well as the BVI public, expect to be updated of any developments and I will certainly provide a further update when further information becomes available.