The Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday denounced an earlier decision by the European Union (EU) to add the North African country to a "blacklist" of tax havens.
The ministry said the newly revised list, which included 17 non-European economies, "does not reflect the efforts of Tunisia in terms of global tax transparency." European finance ministers released the blacklist on Tuesday amid its crackdown on aggressive tax avoidance.
The entities on the list, labeled "non-compliant jurisdictions" by the EU, are regarded by the bloc as not doing enough to tackle offshore tax evasion schemes.
According to a report by the Financial Times on Tuesday, Tunisia could have been removed from the list but "its reform proposal came too late." Members of the Assembly of People's Representatives, Tunisia's parliament, expressed fears about the harmful effects the blacklist will bring to their country.
Believing that Tunisia's business and investment environment will be harmed by the latest move, the deputies urged a rapid diplomatic reaction to "save what remains to be saved." They were gathered to review the country's 2018 Financial Act.
Zied Laadhari, Tunisian minister of investment and international cooperation, told the press that the inclusion of Tunisia in the blacklist could damage "the credibility and transparency" of the Tunisian economy, vowing that his country will be wiped out from the list as soon as possible.The EU remains the largest trade partner of Tunisia as trade between the pair amount to over 70 percent of the North African country's total external trade.