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Panama Removed From OECD 'Grey List'

July 2011 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Hassans.

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Panama has followed Costa Rica in being removed from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) 'grey list' of countries which have yet to substantially implement international standards on the exchange of tax information.

Panama's 'white listing' came as a result of Panama signing a tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) with France. The deal brings Panama's total of agreements to the critical twelve that meets the international standard.

These twelve TIEAs have been inked over the last sixteen months, and are with Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Qatar, Luxembourg, Korea, Singapore, Mexico, Barbados, Portugal, the US and now France.

Commenting on the decision, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said: Panama has worked hard to achieve this milestone and has made remarkable strides toward complying with the international standards in a very short time. This is very welcome and shows the Global Forum is achieving its aims.

However, Gurria cautioned that the Global Forum must still evaluate whether Panama's domestic laws will allow for effective availability, access to and exchange of information. He said: The government has introduced domestic changes so that the agreements can be effective. The Global Forum will follow up to make sure they work as intended. It is important that Panama continues to work to fully implement the standards.

At Panama's request, the OECD's Global Forum will soon undertake a further review of whether Panama's domestic laws, including recent changes, will allow for effective exchange of information in practice.

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