Japan establishing embassy in Barbados next year
Japan is establishing an embassy on Barbados from January 1. This was revealed by counsellor at the Japanese Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Nobuhiro Matsuoka, recently. He explained that the Barbados mission will be the third by Japan in the region, the other being in Jamaica. He explained that currently he was part of a three-member team setting up the office, which will be in a temporary location until the permanent home in Chelston Park on Culloden Road is ready. Matsuoka, who will act as chargé d’affaires when the mission is up and running until an ambassador is appointed and arrives in Bridgetown, explained that in the interim the ambassador in Port of Spain would retain responsibility for Barbados. The diplomat, who explained that he was very impressed with the quality of life he had seen since arriving in Barbados, anticipated that the arrival of the mission here would bring new business opportunities to the island. Meanwhile, Japanese officials are preparing to bring a musical group from that Asian nation to Barbados for a special series of shows here, Matsuoka said.
Brazil, Switzerland sign TIEA
Brazil is to remove Switzerland from its “blacklist” after the two countries signed a tax information exchange agreement (TIEA), reports Tax News. The TIEA was signed in Brasilia on November 23. According to the Swiss Federal Council, Switzerland will be permanently removed from Brazil’s blacklist of countries with insufficient provisions for the exchange of tax-related information. It said this will give Swiss companies operating in Brazil greater legal certainty and investment security. The agreement is the tenth TIEA signed by Switzerland. The Council added that the Swiss and Brazilian authorities will strive to further extend tax-related cooperation, and could conclude provisions for the avoidance of double taxation. The TIEA will enter into force once both countries have completed their respective ratification procedures. In Switzerland, it is subject to an optional referendum. The Council said that in the hearing procedure that followed the completion of negotiations, the cantons and business associations expressed their overall approval.
Singapore adding HNWIs faster than Hong Kong
Singapore’s population of millionaires will grow faster than Hong Kong’s over the next five years, reports WPTZ. By 2020, Singapore is expected to have a total of 188,000 millionaires, an increase of 18 per cent. That compares with 16 per cent growth in the number of millionaires forecast for Hong Kong, according to WealthInsight. It also means one in 30 Singaporeans will be a millionaire by then. Singapore currently has about 154,000 high net worth individuals, with collective net worth hitting more than $806 billion. “Singapore’s burgeoning financial markets, renowned private banking and superior quality of life are continuing to attract high net worth individuals from neighbouring countries,” Oliver Williams of WealthInsight said in a statement. “We’re currently seeing a large influx of Indian and Chinese millionaires into the country.” Overall, Hong Kong still has more millionaires than Singapore – 193,000 are in the Chinese territory. But recent political uncertainty, including last year’s pro-democracy protests in the city, may have made it less attractive to some rich individuals, Williams said. Hong Kong and Singapore are both considered major financial hubs in Asia and have tax-friendly policies that are attractive to the wealthy and to companies. China now has more than one million millionaires. The US has about 9.63 million households worth at least US$1 million.