18 Jun 2015

Five Pacific countries on EU tax blacklist

11:40 am on 18 June 2015

The European Union has put five Pacific countries on its first list of international tax havens as part of a crackdown on multinational companies trying to avoid paying tax.

The list of 30 territories includes the Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu as well as Hong Kong, Monaco and Guernsey plus a dozen countries and territories in the Caribbean.

The EU wants to end special tax deals involving firms such as Amazon, Apple and Starbucks.

The EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici says the publication of the blacklist is a decisive step that will push non co-operative non-EU jurisdictions to be more co-operative and adopt international standards.

Critics say the publication of the list risks being seen as an attempt to distract from the EU's need to tackle its own issues with tax avoidance.

The EU state of Luxembourg has been exposed as a hub for some of the world's largest companies, including Apple, IKEA and Pepsi, which succeeded in saving billions of dollars in taxes.