The tax treaty signing ceremony with Canadian Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, in Vancouver, Canada (2009).
It took our country, blood, sweat, and tears to be removed from fiscal blacklists in 2009. The path to never again ending up on the black or grey lists was widely known. Therefore, it is regrettable, as a former State Secretary of Finance, tasked with getting our country on the white list, to read that Curaçao is in danger of ending up on the fiscal blacklist in 2024. The main reason is that Curaçao does not comply with the standard automatic tax information exchange.
What does it mean to be on fiscal blacklists? Trade with countries on blacklists is no longer possible and/or is hindered by additional barriers. This makes trade more expensive compared to countries not on the blacklist. Two concrete examples: A weapons dealer in Curaçao who was not allowed to import Beretta weapons because Curaçao was on Italy’s blacklist. A large importer had to pay 35% more taxes on importing Brazilian spare ribs because Curaçao was on Brazil’s blacklist. Blacklists are not only crucial for the “offshore,” as many think.
What I did at the time to get us on the white list was a focused plan of action that included high-level contacts with the Taxation and Customs Union Directorate (TAXUD) of the European Commission, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In addition, we caught up by signing many tax treaties. From 4 treaties in force until 2006, during my term of office, 18 fiscal treaties were signed, bringing us to 22 treaties. The fact that we had few fiscal treaties before I took office (4) meant that our country was considered a jurisdiction unwilling to share fiscal information with others on a legal basis. I also started preparations to form a block with small jurisdictions (including the Isle of Man) against often unjustified listing on various fiscal blacklists. Due to opposition in my cabinet, no results were achieved in forming the latter block.
Hopefully, the current decision-makers can learn from the past. Ending up on blacklists again is not in anyone’s interest.
For the Dutch text: