Panama seeks to punish countries that blacklist it as ‘tax haven’

The government of Panama on Tuesday announced a bill that would take a range of steps against countries that put it on their blacklists of “tax havens” in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations.

The legislation would impose tax, trade and migration measures on companies or individuals from those countries that “engage in practices that discriminate or imply damage to economic interests” of Panama, a statement said.

The move could be directed at France, which put Panama back on its national blacklist of tax havens in April following the Panama Papers reports, which showed how some of the world’s wealthy stashed assets in offshore firms created by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Colombia could also be targeted for keeping tariffs on Panama textile imports despite a World Trade Organization ruling calling for them to be scrapped.

Panama has vowed to improve its fight against money laundering and tax evasion, but has fallen short of regulations the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development wants to see adopted internationally.

The bill will be put to Panama’s Congress for debate and a vote.