The Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) views Barbados’s elevation to the Vice Chairmanship of the Global Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as a validation of its high standing among international business and financial centres.

This was the view expressed by Ms. Connie Smith, President of BIBA, as she reacted to the news of the jurisdiction’s new position following the October 28 to 29 seventh meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the Global Forum) in Germany.

“This is two pieces of good news now that Barbados has also been removed from Colombia’s ‘blacklist’ following an agreement between our nations to pursue a tax information exchange agreement. Colombia is one of the important gateways to the Latin America market for us and we expect some positive growth from this development,” said Ms. Smith.

The Global Forum, which has set an ambitious global agenda since 2009 to reform the exchange of tax information across its membership of 122 nations plus the European Union (EU), overseas the Peer Review compliance process, under which Barbados recently went through its Phase 2 Assessment.

“The Global Forum is the place where policies are created that are fed back to the decision-makers in the G20, which then have a major impact on how business operates in the major financial and corporate centres of the world, and ultimately ramifications for how we do business here in Barbados. This will now allow us to input into the shaping of these policies,” said Ms. Smith.

Barbados will be one of 18 other members of the Steering Committee, which includes 13 from the OECD, EU and the G20 nations. “Barbados now really has to make its voice heard on decisions of national importance to our international business sector, plus the access to which we can now avail ourselves in this select committee will be invaluable,” said Ms. Smith. 

Barbados succeeds Bermuda and will adopt the position in 2015 and hold it for two years. This will coincide with the key focus in 2015 on the final preparations for the review process on the new global standards for automatic exchange of information (AEOI) and the next round of reviews for exchange of information (EOI) on request, which will both commence in 2016.

A total of 89 Global Forum member jurisdictions have committed to implement reciprocal exchange of tax information on an automatic basis, with the first exchanges starting from 2017 or 2018 subject to the completion of necessary legislative procedures.

In 2015, jurisdictions will provide AEOI implementation plans so that a report can be made to the Global Forum plenary next year. Reviews are expected to start in 2016, as the legal and regulatory frameworks of jurisdictions committed to first exchanges in 2017 should be finalised by then.