The European Union has adopted a “blacklist” of 17 tax havens, which could mean they lose access to EU funds and other sanctions.
The decision was made at a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels as EU authorities move to counter tax avoidance having urged dozens of nations to make greater commitments to transparency.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire confirmed American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates were the countries listed.
A further 47 jurisdictions were included in a “grey” list deemed not currently compliant with EU standards though they had committed to change their tax rules, he added.
The action is aimed at countering disclosures about the behaviour of companies and individuals – the most recent in the release of the so-called Paradise Papers.
EU states launched a process in February to list tax havens in a bid to discourage setting up shell structures abroad.
While most are legal, there are concerns illicit activities may be being missed.
The EU said it would decide on what measures, if any, were necessary against the territories on the blacklist in the coming weeks.
The announcement suggested officials were waiting to receive individual responses from the nations identified before proceeding further.