The Premier Dr D Orlando Smith-led trade mission to Africa that was scheduled for November has been postponed till next year.
The trip has been shelved so the territory can focus on the European Union’s (EU) upcoming assessment of the BVI’s finance centre’s.
The BVI has until December to adopt a number of legislative changes to remain off the EU’s blacklist of tax havens.
And in considering the limited time remaining to convince the EU that the BVI is a jurisdiction that is ‘compliant’ with its anti-money laundering and anti-tax evasion policies, the Premier said he has instructed the territory’s UK/EU representative, Elise Donovan, to ‘redouble efforts’ abroad to achieve that goal.
“Ms Donovan was a key member of the delegation which was due to participate in a mission to three African countries in November, and it is vital that she remains in the UK to focus on the EU,” the Premier explained.
Interim Executive Director of BVI Finance, Lorna Smith said the Africa Expert Network “understands and fully support” the BVI’s position and have agreed to put a hold on their meetings.
“We’ve been looking forward to embarking on this mission to Africa, BVI Finance agrees that the BVI’s focus and firepower need to be directed toward the issue involving the EU.”
“We must continue to put all our efforts into ensuring that the BVI remains a sound, reliable and transparent jurisdiction,” BVI Finance boss said.
What is the EU’s tax haven blacklist?
The blacklist was created to categorise jurisdictions who ‘do not respect the EU’s tax transparency standards’.
The EU created the blacklist in December 2017; some three months after hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged the BVI.
While the EU classifies the BVI as a territory that is non-compliant to its standards, it put the territory on a so-called ‘grey list’ and gave it a year to become compliant.
The BVI was given a one-year grace period because of the onslaught of the hurricanes. But, this grace period expires in three months and if the BVI doesn’t satisfy the EU, it could then be blacklisted and subjected to diplomatic sanctions.
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