November 23, 2017 / 3:35 PM / a year ago

Turkey will complete tax regulations, inclusion in EU blacklist out of question: finance minister

Turkey's Finance Minister Naci Agbal is pictured during an interview with Reuters in Ankara, Turkey, September 27, 2016. Picture taken September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ANKARA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Turkey promised the European Union last week that it would complete secondary tax regulations soon, Finance Minister Naci Agbal said on Thursday, adding that it was out of the question for the bloc to include Turkey in a blacklist of tax havens.

Agbal told Reuters that Turkey was fully in line with and backing all international tax agreements, and said that differences of opinion would be overcome.

Bloomberg News had said earlier on Thursday that the EU could include Turkey on a blacklist of tax havens as soon as next month, in a move that could further strain ties between Ankara and the world’s largest trading bloc.

European Union envoys in Brussels discussed the blacklist on Wednesday, ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers on Dec 5 which is expected to decide whether to adopt the list, which countries could be initially included, and possible sanctions.

“Issues discussed are likely to remain in flux. A whole series of other meetings will take place on the same issues between now and...5 December,” an EU official told Reuters. “On this date it will be easier to see a clear picture on where individual files stand.”

EU tax commissioner Pierre Moscovici said this month that about 50 countries were being screened by the EU to assess whether their rules and tax practices were sufficiently transparent and did not cause risks of helping tax avoidance.

But EU officials said they expected the list to have very few names, if any, as some EU countries oppose the blacklist and are against sanctions for those who are named.

“It is out of the question for Turkey to be included in the blacklist of tax havens, as there’s no practice that would require the inclusion,” Agbal said.

“Turkey fully abides by international tax agreements and backs them. Last week, we wrote a letter to the EU and explained that we were carrying out work on secondary regulations, and promised it would be completed soon.”

Reporting by Orhan Coskun in Ankara and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Dominic Evans

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