12:56 GMT28 May 2020
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    New research by the Green/EFA group in the European Parliament calls for the USA to be considered a tax haven, following claims that it has fallen behind in terms of tax transparency.

    The research — which was published ahead of a special visit to the US by the European Parliament's special committee, investigating tax avoidance this week — could also cast a shadow over the ongoing TTIP negotiations, which aim to secure closer trade agreements between Europe and the US.

    The report is critical of what it sees as inaction on the part of the US in tackling the issue of transparency of company ownership and bank account information between tax administrations, arguing that whilst the EU has made progress, the US has not.

    The report, titled 'The Role of the US as a Tax Haven — Implications for Europe' says:

    "The US is a major financial center. It holds almost 20% of the global market share of financial services for nonresidents, foreign assets amounted to US$16,745 billion in 2013, and foreign direct investment reached US$2.9 billion in 2014. However, its transparency legal framework is not consistent with the responsibility involved in being a major financial hub."

    The German Green MEP Sven Giegold commented on the report, claiming that the US had failed to live up to the standards it requires of other countries.

    "The US has made bold moves on the exchange of financial information but it is just a one-way street: its exchange of tax information with other countries is more limited and full of loopholes," Giegold said.

    Molly Scott Cato — a Green MEP for the UK — argued that the US is becoming increasingly attractive as a "tax haven" for the world's most wealthy. Responding to the recent report, she argued for greater scrutiny of the US tax regime from the EU, saying:

    "The EU should carefully scrutinize the US in the upcoming process of creating a common blacklist of tax havens. We should introduce a withholding tax on US banks not exchanging information as the US has done with European banks. We need the US to sign up to the highest international standards of transparency."

    A fact-finding delegation will visit the US from the 17-19 May as a part of the European Parliament's special committee investigating tax avoidance in the US.

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    Tags:
    MEPs, tax haven, blacklist, transparency, negotiations, official visit, research, delegation, report, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Greens/European Free Alliance, European Parliament, European Union, Europe, United States
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