Hong Kong Asks Portugal to Lift Tax Haven Status 

Hong Kong has asked Portugal to revoke its status as a tax haven and defended the fact that it already complies with European Union (EU) standards in the fight against tax evasion, the government of the Chinese region said in a statement.

According to the statement, the request was made in Lisbon by the territory’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christopher Hui Ching-yu, “in light of Hong Kong’s continued efforts to support international cooperation”.

During a meeting with the Portuguese Secretary of State for Fiscal Affairs, Cláudia Reis Duarte, Christopher Hui Ching-yu, “expressed concern” that the Chinese region has been considered a tax haven since Portugal created the list in 2004.

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This would “subject Hong Kong companies to a tax increase and special measures” in Portugal, said the official, who also recalled that the two sides signed an agreement to avoid double taxation, which came into force in 2012.

Christopher Hui also reminded Cláudia Reis Duarte that in February the EU removed Hong Kong from the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, mentioning that the decision “demonstrated the EU’s recognition of Hong Kong’s efforts” to introduce measures to combat “cross-border [tax] evasion resulting from double non-taxation”.

The list includes 80 countries, territories and regions that Portugal classifies as having privileged tax regimes that are clearly more favorable, and for which higher tax rates are applied to various financial transactions.

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The secretary also spoke with Economy Minister Pedro Reis about “how to maintain sustainable economic growth and take advantage of mutual investment opportunities” between Portugal and Hong Kong, the statement said.

Christopher Hui also took part in a seminar with Portuguese businesspeople on the Chinese currency capital market, the creation of a system for cryptocurrencies and other digital assets and the financial technology (or ‘fintech’) already used in Hong Kong.

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