Prior to the commencement of the World Economic Forum at Davos on Wednesday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne held a bilateral meeting with the Finance Minister of Malta, Edward Scicluna.
According to a release from Antigua and Barbuda’s Director General of Communications, Maurice Merchant, the main items on the agenda for discussion were the various initiatives being taken by the European Union (EU) which could have a harmful impact on countries that operate citizenship by investment (CIP) programmes.
Malta, a member of the EU, has the most successful CIP programme in Europe. Both men focused on an analysis of EU policies that were deemed to be potentially harmful to CIP jurisdictions, and agreed to a certain measure of collaboration intended to mitigate the risks posed by EU policies.
Minister Scicluna, who sits on the powerful body of EU finance ministers called ECOFIN, recalled the EU tax initiative commenced in 1998 labelled “harmful tax competition” which had adverse effects on the offshore jurisdictions of many Caribbean countries.
He explained that since then the EU had continued to focus on international tax matters in an attempt to stem the leakage of tax revenues from various EU member states to offshore jurisdictions.
In more recent times the EU has turned its attention to the potential deleterious effects of various CIPs on banking regulation, including the common reporting standards or CRS.
PM Browne called for further exchange of information and close cooperation between Malta and Antigua and Barbuda on this important issue.
PM Browne and Minister Scicluna will participate tomorrow in a panel discussion on CIP and cryptocurrencies at the World Economic Forum.