EU proposes to remove Barbados and others from tax haven blacklist
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union officials have proposed removing eight jurisdictions from the blacklist of tax havens the bloc adopted in December, in what critics may see as a blow to its campaign against tax avoidance. EU states decided last month to draw up the list in a bid to discourage the most aggressive tax dodging practices. But eight of the 17 jurisdictions currently listed are set to be quickly removed from the list after they offered to change their tax rules, according to EU documents seen by Reuters. Panama, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Barbados, Grenada, Macao, Mongolia and Tunisia are the jurisdictions that EU officials have recommended be delisted. The removal of Bahrain was also initially considered, but its delisting was eventually not recommended, the documents show. The proposal will be discussed at a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday and is expected to be adopted by EU finance ministers when they meet next week in Brussels for monthly talks. Jurisdictions set to remain on the blacklist are American Samoa, Bahrain, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Namibia, Palau, Saint Lucia, Samoa, and Trinidad and Tobago. The proposal for the delisting was made by the so-called Code of Conduct Group, which gathers tax experts from the 28 EU member states. It monitors countries’ commitments to abide by EU standards on tax matters. If the recommendation were confirmed by EU ministers, the eight jurisdictions will be moved to a so-called gray list which includes those who have committed to change their rules on tax transparency and cooperation. The gray list currently includes 47 jurisdictions. The shrinking of the blacklist is likely to be criticized by tax transparency groups. In December some activists denounced the listing process as a whitewash and had called for the inclusion in the blacklist of some EU countries accused of facilitating tax avoidance, like Luxembourg, Malta, Ireland and the Netherlands. The recommended removal of Panama may cause particular outcry, as it has been at the center of one of the largest disclosures of offshore schemes, the so-called Panama Papers. EU officials have said the purpose of the blacklist is to convince jurisdictions to become more transparent. Having fewer on the list means more countries have committed to changes, they say. Article compliments Reuters
BIBA Charity continues to give
The Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) Charity, with the help of its members and the business community, gave back to the youth of Barbados during the festive season. “The international business sector continually makes tangible contributions to the wider community,” says trustee of the Charity, Louisa Lewis-Ward, “but at this time of year, we focus especially on Barbados’ children. While our larger effort to support Barbados’ public health care system continues, BIBA’s members know that giving to the ill or less fortunate remains in keeping with our mandate and makes Christmas for some that much brighter.” At the Association’s Holiday Party on December 15th, members, strategic partners and other specially invited guests, donated toys and Cave Shepherd Cash Vouchers towards the Charity’s initiatives. On Thursday, December 21st, the charity then made a donation to the teens at the Sterling Children’s Home. Thanks to the complementary assistance from Cave Shepherd, each ward received $100 Cave Shepherd Cash Voucher. Later that day, the Charity also donated wrapped gifts to the young ones on the Children’s Ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. From left: BIBA Marketing and Communication Officer Mialisa Garnes; Auxiliary Nurse Carolyn Breedy; Nursing Officer Esther Nelson; BIBA President Marlon Waldron and BIBA Treasurer Trevor Burke posing with all of the gifts before giving them to the children on the ward.
Barbados Not A Non-Cooperative Jurisdiction
Barbados is NOT a non-cooperative jurisdiction in taxation matters or any other matter. The island’s Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, stressed this yesterday, as he addressed media representatives on the blacklisting of this country by the European Union (EU). At the offices of International Business, Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Minister Inniss forcefully stated: “We remain truly cooperative, but true to our ideals and policies as a sovereign nation, as we strive to be the International Financial jurisdiction of choice.” The proclamation came following his detailing of the country’s efforts to ensure compliance with the EU through weeks of interaction between Barbados, the EU and various international agencies on the matter. Deeming the listing as “extremely unfortunate and unfair” to Barbados, Mr. Inniss said with respect to the way forward, the island would be sending a detailed letter to the EU requesting an urgent review of “their rather unfortunate listing of Barbados as Acknowledging that his country would be urging CARICOM to take the lead on regional dialogue, the International Business Minister explained: “…Being mindful that our region will continue to be under scrutiny and attacks from other regional groupings and multinational organisations, Barbados will once again request a regional dialogue on the matter with the goal of establishing a high level regional team of experts to engage with external parties on behalf of the region. We really expect that CARICOM will take the lead on this matter.” The country, one among four in the Caribbean to be blacklisted by the EU on December 5, will also be engaging all of its officials and private sector partners “to continue to educate our multinational partners on these issues”. To read the full statement from Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, on the European Union list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in taxation, you may click Official MInister’s December 6 2017 Press Release – final version Article compliments the Barbados Government Information Services.
Serious Implications For Blacklisted Countries
Blacklisting of Barbados by the European Union (EU) could have serious implications for our economy. International Business Minister, Donville Inniss made this emphatic statement on Wednesday at a press conference convened at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, to address the actions/decisions of the EU in Brussels on December 5, that saw the country listed among non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. While noting that the EU’s decision could impact negatively and have the effect of international institutions refusing to conduct business in this jurisdiction or experiencing increased cost when trading with our country, he assured the media, Government would be fighting to get the country delisted as soon as possible. “When multinational groupings, as particularly as powerful as the EU is, issue these kinds of lists and reports, they are picked up by other groupings and organisational bodies, including financial institutions, who may then decide that the cost of doing business or financing projects in jurisdictions like ours then has to be increased. Or, they may very well go the full gamut of saying that we restrict doing business in domiciles such as Barbados. “We are very determined to ensure that Barbados is removed from that list of uncooperative jurisdictions,” said Minister Inniss, who had earlier stated that the EU had indicated they would, in the future, be penalties and “we would certainly have to wait to see what these would be”. The International Business Minister further acknowledged that Government was surprised by the report that placed Barbados and three other Caribbean countries on the list. In the report of the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU titled The EU List of Non-Cooperative Jurisdictions for Tax Purposes, it is stated that: “Barbados has a harmful preferential tax regime and did not clearly commit to amending or abolishing it as requested by 31 December 2018. Barbados’ commitment to amend or abolish other harmful tax regimes in line with criterion 2.1 will be monitored.” The particular tax regime was noted as the Fiscal Incentives Act Regime. A search of Invest Barbados’ website states that this Fiscal Incentives Act provided various tax and customs duty exemptions to corporations involved in manufacturing activities which qualified for concessions. While the EU report stated that this listing was given on the basis of responses received by December 4, 2017, Mr. Inniss stressed that on December 1, Government had already responded to the EU, indicating it had taken a policy decision to abolish the Fiscal Incentives regime by September 2018, three months ahead of the December 2018 deadline. Emphasising that the Fiscal Incentives Act was not the only or main issue of discussion, he noted it was the last point on which the EU sought further explanation and particularly “as to how it was applied”. He therefore stressed what was more important to note was the country’s commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to abolishing that particular set of incentives and working towards replacement incentives that would “certainly be WTO compliant”. To read the full statement from Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, on the European Union list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in taxation, you may click here. Article compliments the Barbados Government Information Services.
EU blacklisting unfair, says BIBA
President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), Marlon Waldron, has described the European Union’s blacklisting of Barbados as “unfair” but stressed it should not be flippantly dismissed. On Tuesday, the EU finance ministers adopted a blacklist of 17 tax havens that they deemed as not cooperative on tax matters. In addition to Barbados, the list included Caribbean neighbours Grenada, St Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago. Waldron said the blacklisting had serious implications for Barbados as it might discourage new companies from doing business with the island. He said the foreign reserves were already strained and the international business was the sole sector in Barbados that was a net foreign exchange earner. “I can tell you that we have companies on the island that are very concerned, because when a country is placed on a list, what it does is it increases the risk profile of the companies that are on the island . . . . When risk is increased it means that somewhere along the line you are looking at some kind of cost. “For BIBA, any listing like that is concerning and we certainly cannot dismiss it. We certainly believe it is unfair, given the fact that there has been so much communication between the two parties. However, one cannot dismiss it flippantly,” he said. Waldron could not say how long it would take for Barbados to be removed from the list, though he noted it would take “some time”. Noting that Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss and his team, along with the new director of international business Kevin Hunte had been working assiduously on this matter, Waldron pledged to work hand in hand with them to ensure Barbados was placed on the white list. Article taken from the Friday, December 8th, 2017 Weekend Nation Page 4.
B’dos Is A Clean, Low Tax Jurisdiction
Barbados is a clean, well regulated, low tax jurisdiction and not a tax haven! This was Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s firm message when a delegation from the United States of America, including Chief Aides and Policy Advisors to Congressional Members Elliot Engel and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Eddy Acevedo and Eric Jacobstein, paid him a courtesy call recently at Government Headquarters. Those present included US’ Ambassador to Barbados, Linda Taglialatela; Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, Colonel Glyne Grannum and acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mark Franklin. Mr. Stuart said from time to time, this country has had to defend its reputation in that area and he called on the US to lend its voice in helping to clear up any misconceptions. “Because companies pay low taxes here, they repatriate large profits to their jurisdictions and that money is invested there, so there is a win-win situation,” he explained. According to him, the international business sector accounts for a significant amount of Barbados’ corporate tax revenue, brings in the second largest amount of foreign exchange and offers good quality jobs. The Prime Minister said another area of concern was Barbados being classified as a high middle-income country and therefore did not qualify for necessary concessional financing. He stressed, however, that all countries in the Caribbean were vulnerable and identified hurricanes as being able to wipe out their GDP within a few hours. He noted that Barbados was leading the charge for a vulnerability index for small island developing states to deal with those issues and pointed out that New Zealand has joined the cause. Mr. Stuart thanked the US officials for their interest in Barbados, saying that Ambassador Taglialatela had been serving her country and the Caribbean very well. He noted that the relationship between Barbados and the US had deepened as a result of her being here. “Barbados values very highly its relationship with the US. It is an old relationship that predates our Independence, but there is still scope to deepen relations. The two countries understand that they need each other and that is why there is the US-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act,” he stated. During the visit, Mr. Acevedo and Mr. Jacobstein met with key national and regional stakeholders to get a better sense of the impact of US support and assistance to the region. Mr. Acevedo serves as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor and Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Mr. Jacobstein is a senior policy advisor on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs democratic staff, managing the Western Hemisphere portfolio for Ranking Member Eliot Engel and Committee Democrats. Mr. Engel and Ms. Ros-Lehtinen have been advocating for adequate funding for Caribbean specific programmes, including the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. Article compliments the Government Information Service.
Int’l Business & Financial Services Push Latin America a Growing Market
With Latin America identified as one of the fastest growing markets for Barbados to do business with, the LatAm Inward Mission held recently at Hilton Barbados attracted 11 service providers from Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Guatemala and Venezuela. Director of Invest Promotion at Invest Barbados, Kenneth Campbell, speaking to media representatives on the margins of the event, expressed pleasure at this, as he deemed the forum a “follow-up” to determine how to further attract foreign direct investment into the island. Acknowledging that Invest Barbados had targeted persons with a crucial role to play in ensuring this business relationship developed, he said: “These are the service providers in the various markets. So, we are targeting the lawyers, the accountants, the tax advisors who bring with them a kind of base and they would encourage others to use Barbados as part of the international tax planning programme.” While proffering reasons why Latin American businesses would want to be operating on the island, he added: “We sell Barbados as a well-regulated country with a strong network of international tax agreements, which would allow for the global business, and hence, also with the ability to provide substance. The need to provide substance and to facilitate the business through Barbados is one of the key components of getting new investments into Barbados.” Mr. Campbell also agreed with Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, that the facilitation process was key to ensuring additional business, and though taxation was of interest for most of the businesses, the facilitation process was by far one of the major components for providers deciding to come to a jurisdiction. Queried about what specifically he was hearing from service providers as their own reasons, he stressed: “Again, the process of doing business in Barbados, the reputation of Barbados being a well-regulated centre, as well as the network of double taxation treaties and the ability to provide substance. “We have the service providers in Barbados, all of whom are very competent and able to provide the support to set up businesses and for the processes that are required; the legislation has all of the checks and balances that international players are looking for … and hence, makes Barbados a good place to do business.” Adapted from the Barbados Government Information Service
Int’l Business & Financial Services Push
Barbados will continue to place emphasis on the development and growth of the international business and financial services sector, the second largest contributor to Barbados’ economic success. This commitment has come from Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, who recently addressed the LatAm Inward Mission Conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort, Needham’s Point, St. Michael. “Our future as a successful jurisdiction demands consistency, creativity, innovation, responsiveness, flexibility and excellence in the service industry. Government, through my Ministry in particular, and along with key stakeholders, is working assiduously to implement new products, improve regulatory and compliance standards, as well as enhance the Barbados business environment. “For example, Barbados is committed to signing the Multilateral Instrument (MIL) by the end of January 2018, which will introduce into our treaty network provisions to counter treaty abuse. We diligently are reviewing all our treaties, and will be “collaborating on equal footing” with partner countries, to make the necessary amendments to the legislation to ensure relevant international standards are met,” Mr. Inniss disclosed. Pointing out that discussions would soon occur regarding commitments to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and arrangements with the European Union, he said these would include meetings with stakeholders, including the Barbados International Business Association, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados and the Barbados Bar Association, to bring them fully up to speed on these commitments and further engage them on the specifics. The Commerce Minister also told the international delegates it was his country’s intention to expand and upgrade, as required, its range of international business products, which currently spanned areas such as international insurance, wealth management, financial services, information communication technology, offshore schools, medical tourism, renewable energy and niche manufacturing. “Barbados is also open to investigating new suites and technologies, such as Blockchain technology. And, we eagerly look forward to hearing from you and our partners in Latin American states as to what you think are the new … products that we ought to be developing in Barbados to meet the growing demands of your clients in that particular space,” he added. Mr. Inniss also told the delegates that at the core of this bourgeoning sector stood the Caribbean’s most valuable resource – its people, and that they represented a cadre of highly skilled, English-speaking tax advisors, lawyers and executives from reputable international banks, global accounting firms and competent management companies offering the full range of corporate services. As he concluded, Mr. Inniss expressed the hope that the LatAm Inward Mission would see the formation of new business relationships, an increase in investment flows between Barbados and the Latin American region, and enhanced economic prosperity. “Barbados is ready. Barbados is open for business. We invite you to grow with us,” he told the visiting service providers. Article compliments Invest Barbados.
Minister’s Statement On European Union Tax Listing
Statement from Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, on the European Union list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in taxation. Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, Let me take this opportunity to express my thanks to GIS and the media for responding at such short notice to the scheduling of this press conference. I also welcome our friends through Invest Barbados from Canada joining us via Skype. On 5 December 2017 yesterday, the Council of the European Union through its Code of Conduct Group approved and published conclusions containing an EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in taxation. It also agreed on the further process, including the application of ‘defensive’ measures with regard to the listed jurisdictions. The aim of this from their perspective is to promote good governance worldwide, in order to maximise efforts to prevent tax fraud and tax evasion. The initiative is part of the Council’s external strategy for taxation, delivering on its November 2016 conclusions that called for a list to be established by the end of 2017. You may download a copy of the full statement by clicking Official MInister’s December 6 2017 Press Release – final version Taken from the Barbados Government Information Service.
Foreign Interest Growing In Barbados’ Cassava Industry
Barbados’ growing cassava industry has caught the attention of retailers in the United States and Israel. Divisional Head of Agricultural Services at the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (BADMC), Paul Waithe, says there has been good response to using locally-produced cassava products, including for flour, bread, cake and porridge mixes, and sorbet. Waithe said they were pleased with the interest shown, but noted that local producers must be able to meet commercial demand. It was against this background that he revealed that the BADMC needed financial assistance in order to assemble a cassava processing mill, which was recently purchased from Columbia. The mill is capable of producing an average of 3,000 pounds of flour from 10,000 pounds of cassava per day. “We need to be able to pack a 40-foot container at least once every week to ship. [The retailers] have indicated that their retail lines in the UK, in the Middle East, as well as in the US are very interested in the product, but we have been constrained because [of the lack of] access to financing to be able to complete the mill,” he said. Waithe added that a public/private sector partnership would be needed to kick start the process. He also pointed out that getting the mill operational would be beneficial in helping create an export market, but would also have benefits at the domestic level, in terms of pricing and health. For example, Waithe said, people would have access to gluten-free foods at a lower price. The BADMC official also revealed other steps that have been taken to boost the cassava industry. They include the purchasing of a cassava planter and harvester from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s facility, to help with the cultivation of the crop. Article compliments Caribbean360.com
International Business Sector Vital to Barbados’ Economy
The contribution of this island’s international business sector to the social and economic development of Barbados is not to be underestimated. Minister of Industry and International Business, Donville Inniss, made this assertion recently while addressing a Corporate Trust and Service Providers seminar in the Grande Salle, Tom Adams Financial Centre. The Minister told his audience that quantitatively, the sector contributed over BDS $900 million annually to the economy, which, he noted, ranked second to the contributions made by the tourism industry. Mr. Inniss quipped: “… I often argue with my dear friend and colleague Richard Sealy that the country gets a better return on its investment in international business and financial services than we do in tourism. I suspect that for every dollar that the government spends in the sector, they probably get a lot more than $2 back. And certainly for every dollar we earn in foreign exchange I suspect perhaps that 75 cents stays in Barbados. “This is not to suggest that there is any war between tourism and international business – we need both of them. But, no one can discount the immense contribution that this sector makes to the economy of Barbados.” Mr. Inniss maintained that service providers were quite aware of the contribution of how the sector benefited the economy and pointed to fees charged by companies, and jobs created and sustained by the sector. However, the Minister said he wanted Barbadians to be aware that indirectly, a significant number of workers could trace their employment back to the contribution of the international business sector. He added: “Those who work in the banking industry, those working in the various law firms and those who are employed in ancillary services are really benefiting from this very important sector. “As for you our valuable partners in the corporate trust and service providers arena…if the international business sector is really to move up the ranks and stay there, we recognise that we needed to have a cadre of professionals and companies who are appropriately licensed and regulated to ensure that we maintain a high level of professionalism.” He reminded the gathering that they were the gatekeepers of the sector and were instrumental in the attraction and retention of businesses. Article compliments Invest Barbados and GIS.
Sustainability of the Int’l Business Sector Key
The Government of Barbados is committed to the sustainability of the International Business sector and to its operation on a level that provides a secure jurisdiction from which and in which to conduct business. This assurance comes from Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, while revealing that Barbados joined the ‘Inclusive Framework’ in July of this year and in so doing committed to the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) framework and its consistent implementation. “We therefore collaborate on an equal footing with other members and will work to tackle tax avoidance, improving the coherence of international tax rules and ensuring a more transparent tax environment,” he stated. “We therefore have work to do. We must refocus our efforts on making the necessary amendments to the legislation to ensure that it meets the relevant standards and provides for the substantial business activity on which our ‘offshore’ sector was built,” he stated. Inniss was at the time addressing the International Business Week 2017 Conference “Prospering in the Technological Era: Innovate, Integrate, Motivate”, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, recently. He also disclosed that Government is currently preparing Barbados’ draft Multilateral Instrument (MLI) position for eventual signature before the end of this year. This Instrument, he explained, is an important element of the BEPs Action plan, and is one of the four minimum standards, required in order to implement the tax treaty related aspects of BEPs. “Instead of a bilateral treaty renegotiation process that would take decades, the MLI will allow the entry into force in a shorter time span of tax treaty-related BEPs measures,” he indicated. “I am sure you will agree that our country’s tax treaty network has been one of the pillars on which the international business sector has stood. This growing network is a testament to Barbados’ cooperation and demonstration of an understanding of issues that affect tax systems of partner jurisdictions. The Government of Barbados is committed to honouring these Agreements, negotiated in a spirit of mutual trust, cooperation and respect”. The Minister further acknowledged that going forward, the strengthening of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework of the international business sector will also be a priority. He said that Barbados’ Mutual Evaluation report will be considered at the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Plenary next month and updates and revisions to the national AML/CFT regime will be informed by the outcome of that exercise. “I therefore urge you to embrace these challenging times, for they provide opportunities for the international business sector and for Barbados. You need to take a proactive stance and equip your businesses and staff with the necessary skills, technologies and knowledge to address the new changes. You too must put measures in place to strengthen your AML/CFT frameworks, for we Barbados is as strong as its weakest link,” Inniss expressed. Article compliments the Barbados Advocate and Invest Barbados
Barbados And Italy Pledge To Strengthen Ties
The exchange of instruments of ratification between Barbados and Italy to effectively conclude a Double Taxation Agreement was among the highlights of a visit to Barbados by Italy’s Special Envoy for the Caribbean, Paolo Serpi. Ambassador Serpi and Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, officially exchanged the instrument, which was first signed in August 2015, during a courtesy call at Parliament recently. During the meeting, the envoy mentioned several areas of cooperation, including fashion design, agriculture, renewable energy and climate change. Ambassador Serpi signalled his country’s intention to work more closely with CARICOM on the development of the fashion industry, as well as other areas to advance the social and economic development of both countries. In turn, Mr. Inniss expressed his interest in that project, which he believed had the potential to strengthen the work at the Barbados Community College, where there was existing infrastructure and the teaching of some of the foundation courses in fashion. He added: “We have always looked to Italy in the area of fashion, design and technology. Many Barbadians have benefited from the opportunities available by the Italian Government and Italian institutions to further their skills particularly through the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation.” Regarding cooperation in agriculture, the Minister mentioned the University of the West Indies’ programme to transform the agricultural sector from farm to market, with the assistance of the Italian Government, by using the pelt of Black belly sheep to produce high-quality products. Article compliments Invest Barbados
Overstock CEO: Be the First Movers in Blockchain Technology
“If we in the Caribbean are to be competitive, relevant and even revolutionary, we must embrace Blockchain technology.” This is the view of Chairman of the Bitt Board of Directors, Peter George. While giving brief remarks at a Bitt seminar entitled, ‘Central Bank Meets Blockchain’ at the Hilton Resort, he identified “that even though some less than savoury comments have been made, we at Bitt are the ones on the forefront in the Caribbean… We have spent the last 18 months building that compliance strength. This is an opportunity for real meaningful change”. Meanwhile Dr. Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com, stated: “Central banks around the world are exploring digital currencies including Bank of England, Bank of Canada, Bank of Japan, etc.; they are all targeting 2018. The entire world is getting that Blockchain is a better system. “In Barbados and the Caribbean, we are ready to launch December 15. We have the whole stake built, it is no longer theory; it is the mobile wallet, merchant payment processor and the digital assets exchange and we are ready to go. They are built and in testing.” Dr. Byrne added: “What this means is the Caribbean and Barbados have a unique opportunity. There has been a lot of talk for the last 18 months, there is a crowd of the most distinguished central banks in the world lining up, but there is still a chance to be the first in the world. “I think the Central Bank that is the first in the world that adopts this technology is immediately catapulted to the very forefront of financial technology. “It is decision time for those that are here … as you consider dealing with Bitt. Bitt is a good company with the backing of a large American company. You have the unique opportunity in the next couple of months to go forward and that will put the region on the map as the most progressive forward leading Central Bank that there is, and the effects on the Central Bank and the people will be positive.” Source: The Barbados Advocate
Areas Spain Could Assist Barbados
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has identified renewable energy, tourism and culture as possible areas of collaboration between Barbados and Spain. Mr. Stuart made the comments recently when Spain’s new Ambassador to Barbados, Javier Fernandez Carbajosa, and Honorary Consul, Mandy Chandler, paid him a courtesy call at Ilaro Court. Explaining that renewable energy was very important to Barbados, the Prime Minister pointed out that the island was in the process of creating a green economy, which would require Government to invest more heavily in renewables. On the point of tourism, he said there was greater scope for people-to-people contact and he would like to see an increase in Spaniards visiting these shores. He also suggested that Barbados’ tourism infrastructure could benefit from “Spanish input”, indicating that this could boost arrivals. Mr. Stuart stated that Barbados was trying to develop its cultural industries and expressed the view that a Memorandum of Understanding with Spain could be developed in this area. Barbados and Spain established diplomatic relations 37 years ago, and the Prime Minister noted that while a Double Taxation Agreement was in place, the time had come to improve the relationship. Ambassador Carbajosa said he was ready to undertake any necessary process to push bilateral relations. He agreed that Spain could assist in the areas of renewable energy, cultural exchanges and tourism, disclosing that about 75 million tourists visited his country last year. Article and photo compliment BGIS.
Spain Eager To Work With Barbados
Barbados is eager to negotiate a Bilateral Investment Treaty with Spain. This was communicated to Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain, Javier María Carbajosa Sanchez, during a recent courtesy call with Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, in the Committee Room at Parliament. Ambassador Carbajosa shared similar sentiments and told the Acting Minister that his country was equally interested in drafting bilateral agreements with Barbados. Senator Byer Suckoo said Government was also keen on organising a cultural exchange to benefit the cultural industries in both countries. She added that Barbados was also interested in pursuing and exploring opportunities in the renewable energy sector, as the sector fell within the island’s “top three priorities”. Mr. Carbajosa said Spain would be “more than happy” to lend their experience and knowledge of that sector, along with the tourism sector, as locals in Spain were always “eager and excited to visit new destinations”. Article compliments BGIS.
Another International Medical University Opens in Barbados
Yet another international medical school has opened in Barbados. Just recently, 17 student doctors donned their ceremonial white coats, marking not only their rite of passage into the profession of medicine, but also signifying them as the first group of students to enter the American University of Integrative Sciences (AUIS), School of Medicine at the campus’ new home in Barbados. Founded in 1999, the AUIS was previously known as the University of Sint Eustatius School of Medicine, and was established on the island of Sint Eustatius by a group of medical school educators and administrators. In 2013, the school came under new ownership and management, International Educational Management Resources LLC, based in Atlanta, Georgia and led by Managing Director, Milo Pinckney and President, Renu Agnihotri. Speaking at the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of the university’s Basic Sciences Facility, at #9, 5th Avenue, Belleville, St. Michael, Dr. Edward Layne, a gastroenterologist and native of Barbados, provided the background of the AUIS’ move to Barbados. Dr. Layne, who served as the Honorary Consul for Barbados in Atlanta for the past 20 years before his retirement last December, was instrumental in paving the pathway for the institution’s move to Barbados. “Two years ago, a young visionary entered my office, his name was Mr. Milo Pinckney. He said to me, ‘Dr. Layne, I am not a doctor but I am the son of a physician entrepreneur with Caribbean roots’. He said ‘I am a businessman, who owns a medical school and have several patents in the field of medical technology’, and that in my opinion may be able to revolutionise the training of young doctors and the practice of medicine.” He added that he was quite curious as Mr. Pinckney explained his interest in moving the university to Barbados and deploying a patented, medical information technology device called The Clinical Activity Rotation Log or CARL. The device contains the templates for state-of-the-art training programmes that encompass traditional western medicine as well as the proven aspects of complementary and alternative medicine, now called CAM. Admittedly impressed by what the young businessman had to say, Dr. Layne saw it necessary to introduce him to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, while hosting the 4th biennial Barbados Comes to Atlanta event, in Atlanta, Georgia, in May 2016. Highlighting Barbados’ literacy rate and the rank by the US Department of State as “one of the most politically transparent nations on the planet”, he believes Barbados has many unique qualities and presents tremendous opportunities for his institution. “In our short tenure here, we have developed a great partnership with Senator McClean and Dr. Layne, [who] facilitated our relocation. The growth of our institution and our contribution to the island of Barbados will come together entirely, so I thank you all for your support and most importantly, for your recognition of a quality programme and the opportunity for us to bring it here,” he expressed. The Minister of Foreign Affairs explained that convincing her colleagues was “not a hard task” as they all recognised the potential of the institution as it has been demonstrating its capacity to produce good students. “It is my hope that given the importance of medical training and the demand globally for medical training, that there will be opportunities for synergies to be forged between our traditional medical faculties at the University of the West Indies and the programmes offered by the American University of Integrated Sciences,” she added. “Being in Barbados gives you the opportunity to experience not only state-of-the-art medical training but the opportunity to live in a small society, which, in many respects, has demonstrated the capacity of a resource-scarce nation to engage the world and to demonstrate that we are able to foster a level of development and quality of life that is of interest to other countries,” she conveyed to the students. The Minister thanked Dr. Layne and Mr. Pinckney for their vision and interest to move the university to the island’s shores. Invest Barbados played a key role in facilitating the establishment of AUIS in Barbados. Adapted from the Barbados Government Information Service
American University President says US can learn from Barbados
CALIFORNIA, United States – There’s an island in the Lesser Antilles that the head of one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California, US, thinks very highly of. In fact, Woodbury University President David Steele-Figueredo thinks the US can learn a lot from it. “While Barbados may not be perfect in every sense of the word, maybe we can learn a lesson or two from its excellent educational system, its history of compassion and humanity, and the longevity of the people on this little island.” That is how the Venezuelan-born Dr. Steele-Figueredo concludes an article in the Huffington Post in which he highlighted his own experience in Barbados’ education system as a student of the Lodge School, and what he observed of its people in his time on the island. Barbados was one of several countries in which he lived outside of Venezuela, the others being Trinidad, England, Japan, Belgium and Spain. “The key difference between little Barbados and the US is tolerance and respect between black and white. And what has been the secret recipe? I would argue it is education,” he wrote. “According to a 2014 study by the US Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults, or 14 per cent of the population, cannot read. Shockingly, 21 per cent of adults in the US read below a fifth grade level, and 19 per cent of high school graduates cannot read at all. By comparison, a recent report by the Commonwealth Network states, ‘There is virtually no illiteracy among people age 15-24’ in Barbados. Thus, the fundamental question: How can we have a truly working democracy in the US when many people cannot read, have not assimilated the lessons of world history, and cannot think critically and unemotionally about social and moral issues like racial hatred?” Dr. Steele-Figueredo questioned. He pointed out that another lesson that could be learned from Barbados is “celebration of life.” The university president pointed out that while the key to the island’s stability has been an educated populace with a strong black middle class and representative government, Barbadians have inherited the centuries-old African love of music and dance. “Add that the first rum was supposedly distilled in Barbados in the 17th century and it’s easy to understand the popular belief that, on the island, life is always a party. Perhaps by coincidence, together with Japan it has the world’s highest per capita occurrence of centenarians. But there is also drive, strength and hope, summarised by the almost tri-century Lodge School motto: ‘Possunt Quia Posse Videntur: They can because they think they can.’” Adopted from the Daily Herald Article compliments Invest Barbados
International Business Week Conference 2017 – Early Bird Registration Now Open!
Prospering in the Technological Era: Innovate, Integrate, Motivate Schedule Speakers Exhibitors Join the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), Invest Barbados and other strategic partners for the ninth International Business Week Conference. This two-day conference is the flagship event of the International Business Week of activities and features both local and international experts who will give insight into some of the trends, developments, and issues impacting the international business and financial services sector. Topics for this year’s conference include: Artificial Intelligence: Is it Bad for Business? The Future of Work: Technology and Humanity Developed Market Debt is Rising — What are the Global Implications? Successful Economic Adjustment in Small Economies: Four Recent Examples Presenters include: Mr. Sanjay Joshi | Head of Fixed Income, London & Capital, U.K. Mr. Carlton Cummins | Co-Founder, Aceleron Ltd, U.K. Mr. Niel Harper | Senior Manager, Next Generation Leaders Programmes, Internet Society, USA Dr. DeLisle Worrell │Economic and Financial Consultant, Barbados Early Bird Tickets: $375.00 US | $750.00 BDS Early Bird Registration and Payment deadline: 29 September 2017 Regular Tickets: $450.00 US | $900.00 BDS Don’t forget: To take advantage of the Early Bird Registration rates, payment must be received on or before 29 September 2017. All payments are required in advance of the conference. Register now!! Please make cheques or drafts payable to: Barbados International Business Association. Registration closes 13 October 2017
Call made for fair treatment
THE international business sector is contributing as much as $1 billion to the local economy, but only some $8 million is allotted annually to promoting that sector. This says Marlon Waldron, President of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), is something that needs to be addressed. He made the comments while delivering welcome remarks at a seminar hosted by BIBA yesterday at the Savannah Hotel, under the theme “What Businesses Need to Know about BEPS and DTAS”, as he lamented that tourism promotion is allocated over $100 million a year. “We are asking the powers that be, now that the country is aware of the impact of international business to our economy, to reconsider this disparity so that international business can reach its full potential and make the contribution we know that it can to the revenue and foreign reserves of Barbados,” Waldron added. He noted that much of the blame regarding the country’s current economic reality has been placed at the feet of the international business sector. Waldron lamented that Government officials have, in referring to the shortfall of revenues of some $1.4 billion and lower corporation taxes collected by the Government, placed the shortfall at the doorstep of the International Business and Financial Services sector. “One may see this as blaming of the International Business sector for the current unfortunate state in which our country has found itself as grossly unfair, especially when in good times it is not this sector that is given the credit for the country’s sound, healthy state in terms of its foreign reserves and fiscal position. In better times that credit is given wholly to a sector which, up to now, the nation has been encouraged to think of as our most important one. I believe we should find this very interesting. I take it in a very positive light; I see it as being at last a recognition of the immense importance of international business to Barbados and the valuable contribution it has been making over the years,” he said. Nevertheless, Waldron admitted that the sector has had challenges, and will likely always experience challenges given the nature of the sector. But he maintained that its survival will depend on how we adapt and equip the domicile to take full advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves in spite of the challenges. He made the point as he argued that Government missed such an opportunity when Canada made changes to its laws, allowing exempt surplus treatment for profits flowing from countries that agreed to tax information exchange agreements with it. “Some companies left Barbados and re-domiciled in zero tax jurisdictions. As a result of the relocation of four of those companies, Barbados lost about US$60 million in corporate taxes. One of the four companies which re-domiciled actually engaged the Government, requesting a solution. Needless to say, it was never given in a timely manner and that company left Barbados,” he said. Waldron maintained that was the time that Barbados should have intensified its efforts in the market place. He further contended that there should have been an increase in the financial and other resources allocated to the development of the sector. Article compliments The Barbados Advocate – September 2, 2017 (Page 1&2)
Inniss: Barbados is a domicile of substance
There is more to Barbados as an international business jurisdiction than a low tax rate. That’s the message Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, says is imperative that Barbados broadcast aloud and abroad for all to hear. He made this clear as he suggested that the low tax rate marketing strategy could actually be doing the country more harm than good. The International Business Minister made the point as he gave the feature address at a seminar hosted by the Barbados International Business Association at the Savannah Hotel on ‘What Businesses Need to Know about Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs)’. “The OECD [Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development], the Forum is looking to see are we just attracting businesses because of the lower tax rate. And let me say that part of the deliberation today must be an indication to you as to what it is that we are proposing to do to address the issue. But we also want to hear from you as what you think we ought to be doing,” he said. Inniss added, “I have been contending for years that our marketing efforts as a jurisdiction should not continue to be centred around the lower tax rate. We may very well be shooting ourselves in the foot and doing harm to us as a domicile if our marketing effort is focused almost exclusively on coming to Barbados because we offer a very low tax rate. Barbados offers much more than that tax rate.” As such, the minister, contending that a new marketing strategy is critical, also took issue with the fact that the agency tasked with marketing the International Business sector is not part of the Ministry of International Business. Inniss said this has been a major concern for him for many years and he is adamant that the matter needs to be addressed, as there is the risk of losing the connection, directive and policy perspective that is required to advance the sector. “Our marketing strategies must be relooked to ensure that we are saying the right things, to the right people, in the right markets. I don’t think we are there yet… So even as we go forth, we can’t keep saying, ‘Come to Barbados because we have a low tax.’ We want to say, ‘Come to Barbados because we offer substance to your business,’” he said. Turning his attention to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development’s BEPS initiative, Minister Inniss said efforts by countries to exploit gaps and avoid taxation have been going on for many years and has been driven by countries feeling that they are losing out on significant revenue that is needed to keep their economies going. With that in mind, he said the BEPS initiative offers an advantage to Barbados, as we can promote Barbados as a “domicile of substance”. “We have competent professionals here to run your businesses; we have office space you can operate from; we have flights in and out of Barbados; we have a banking system that works… So one of the solutions we will have to wrap our minds around quickly is our definition of substance, and it may mean that some of the companies that are not looking to offer substance may have to find another domicile to go to. Because it is better for you to have 100 companies offering a great substance in our domicile, than a thousand that are really are not doing anything of significance,” he maintained. Article compliments The Barbados Advocate – Saturday, September 2, 2017 (Page 2)
International Business Division Revamp
New Director of International Business Kevin Hunte, has been tasked with implementing innovative strategies to redirect the department, making it more inclusive and dynamic. Minister of Commerce, Industry and Small Business Development, Donvillle Inniss, issued this challenge, last Friday, as he introduced the new head during the Institute of Chartered Accountants International Business Workshop at Hilton Barbados. The Minister said one area which must be addressed by the new director was that of establishing an online presence for the International Business Division. “We must become paperless and provide services online and in real time. I am truly embarrassed to think that we are even discussing this in 2017. But it is a culture in our public service to be slow to change and to resist change a bit too much.” Mr. Inniss lauded the work of the accounting body and pointed out that as a critical partner, the Ministry understood the challenges, the opportunities, the importance of shaping new policies and products and the need for continuous assessment of the sector. Article compliments BGIS.
Int’l Business Sector Review Ongoing
A full review of the International Business Sector has already commenced with a view to making changes to the legislation that governs the island’s international business and financial services sector. This disclosure came from Minister of Industry, International Business and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, as he addressed the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB) International Business Workshop at Hilton Barbados recently. He told his audience that “we have to be far more proactive and realise that there are some inherent dangers to the present suite of legislation which must be amended”. Mr. Inniss said: “Our design is to have a product mix that fits into global standards, ensuring greater substance in our jurisdiction and better positions Barbados to be a more significant domicile for international business…” The Minister of Industry also hinted at changes to the existing tax rates as work moves ahead on the new regime for international business and financial services. He made a case for greater exploitation of the island’s foreign exchange earning potential and engagement on matters regarding risk and compliance and the best practices that can “be deployed in our jurisdiction”. “So, members of ICAB, we are now poised to restructure, re-engage and redirect Barbados’ international business and financial services sector to make an even greater contribution to our economy. Part of that restructuring must include methodologies that would allow us to better measure the contribution of the international business and financial services sector to the economy,” Mr. Inniss underlined. The Minister noted that a team comprising primarily public officers and the Barbados International Business Association had been assembled to “look at devising such mechanisms, that would allow us to better define the international business and financial services sectors, capture the data on the sectors and to be able to report in a timely fashion [for] making informed decisions about the sector”. Article compliments BGIS
BIDC Lauded For Export Efforts
Efforts by officials of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) to help businesses get export ready have not gone unnoticed by this country’s Minister of Industry, International Business and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss. The Minister lauded the tremendous work done by the Corporation Tuesday while, addressing an Export Readiness graduation ceremony in the Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre, St. Michael. He said when the Export Readiness project started in 2011, there was some bewilderment as to what the programme would achieve. However, he pointed out, that there were many elements involved along the way before companies were export ready. Mr. Inniss contended that before a company could become export ready, they must be able to operate in their own comfort zones “at a level that was second to none” adding that too often, some people in this society settled for mediocrity. “But I keep saying that if you really want your business to grow and to really get involved in export, you have to do it well at the micro level. So, any export thrust or development of enterprises to get more into the regional and international markets, means that all aspects of your domestic market must be done and done well. So, we cannot compromise on matters such as human resources, ensuring that you have fit for purpose and have the right employees [assigned to the right areas].” He continued: “It means that you have to make the best use of all the technology available in developing our processes. It also means that all the business operational aspects must also be streamlined to be as efficient and effective as possible within your own limitations. Additionally, your record keeping must be second to none because nobody is going to take you seriously if you don’t know what it cost to produce the good or the service you are seeking to offer domestically and regionally.” Mr. Inniss also advised entrepreneurs to observe strict financial management practices and to be compliant with paying their taxes. Certificates were presented to representatives from 17 companies who successfully completed the 16-week Export Readiness programme. Article compliments BGIS.