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.
Improving Competitiveness Is Key
The government remains committed to improving the competitiveness of Barbados over the short, medium and long-term. This assurance came today from Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, as he delivered remarks at the closing workshop for the Barbados Competitiveness Programme, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. Mr. Sinckler contended that attaining competitiveness was not a one-off achievement but a continuous and dynamic process that had to be coordinated and managed. He pointed out that achieving competitiveness was not just about a set of institutional arrangements or processes, but encompassed attitude. “If the attitude of the persons who are charged with the responsibility of managing these institutions and processes determine in their minds that they are going to facilitate and provide the leadership necessary to achieve competitiveness, it will be achieved. “The converse occurs if persons do not believe they can provide leadership…to achieve competitiveness, no institutional framework, institutional process or competitiveness programme will help us to achieve that. It is up to us Barbadians to determine that we want to be better at what we do, know that we have the talent and go ahead and achieve the results,” he stressed. Mr. Sinckler stated that Barbados’ levels of efficiency, policy framing and implementation and overall productivity were now key variables in determining “if we attract, who we attract, and in what areas we attract desirable investments”. He expressed the view that there was justification in the concerns about Barbados’ global competitiveness ranking which slipped to 72 out of 138 economies surveyed in 2016-2017. He added that in the Doing Business 2017 Report, Barbados was ranked 117th out of 190 countries overall in 2016. According to him, officials here have identified some flaws in reporting in those two reports. “We cannot challenge the fact that as a country heavily dependent on international trade…for domestic consumption and production, we must commit to simplifying and streamlining existing regulations, behaviours and practices that impact business and trade facilitation,” the Minister stated. The Barbados Competitiveness Programme started in 2010 and the US$11.8 million project was funded by Government and the Inter-American Development Bank. It was designed to address key bottlenecks being experienced in relation to the efficient movement of goods in and out of Barbados, private investment, productivity and the general business climate. The project was also expected to enhance Government’s tax and incentives policy mechanisms while seeking to initiate a process to formally institutionalise matters related to competitiveness. Article compliments BGIS.
Barbados: Tax experts say tourism will pay if de-risking is ignored
The Freundel Stuart administration is being warned not to ignore the vexing issue of de-risking even as it struggles to address the country’s worsening economic conditions, reports Barbados Today. The warning which came from overseas tax compliance experts, cautioned that if the issues relating to de-risking were put on the back-burner, the country’s bread and butter tourism industry, as well as other sectors, could pay dearly. De-risking is the term used for the termination or restriction of business relations, or the severing of correspondent banking relations to avert risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. Up to June of this year the Central Bank of Barbados had given the assurance that the concerns regarding de-risking were being addressed at the highest level among regional states and the international community. Economist Jeremy Stephen said over the past few months it seemed Barbados had become relaxed in tackling the threats and issues relating to de-risking and the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), in order to focus more on issues relating to public financing. “I think that we took our eyes off the ball with respect to de-risking. It is as if it is not even a big threat anymore and people have just put it in the back and we are focusing on the fiscal issue that Government has,” Stephen said. Speaking to the media today, ahead of a seminar to be held here next week on matters relating to FATCA, Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and de-risking, President and Chief Executive Officer of Foodman CPAs & Advisors Stanley Foodman said if Barbados failed to save its institutions from de-risking sectors of the economy could be “severely impacted”. “It is an issue that can permeate and affect every sector of the Barbados economy and I think it is important to keep that in mind that it is probably the most unforeseen dangerous financial issue that has crept up behind FATCA,” Foodman said. “With respect to de-risking the impact on the local economy is for example, if you are not self sufficient with food supply you might have trouble bringing in food supplies. If you import your medicines and medical supplies that can be impacted and tourism in and of itself,” he said. The compliance and risk management specialist explained that jurisdictions that have already lost their entire correspondent banking relations were now reeling from the effects. “De-risking is negatively affecting the Caribbean in a way that we haven’t seen since the ramification of the Caribbean Basin Initiative. It has become a terrible problem for economies in the Caribbean. It has caused loss of jobs, it has caused a loss of food supply in some places and of course it is affecting the tourism industry. “If for example, I were to go to Barbados and I wanted to use a credit card in Barbados and the banking system in Barbados was de-risked then I couldn’t use my credit card in Barbados, which is a throwback to the days when I would have to travel with travellers cheques and cash, which also creates the spectra of potential increases in street crimes and other issues affecting the local economy and the local cultures and countries,” he added. Foodman said if institutions were de-risked, a part of the solution was to find “second tier banks” to provide the necessary correspondent banking services. “The solution is a bifurcated solution that comes together. The first is to make sure that Barbados is completely FATCA compliant from top to bottom. That is an absolute. Also to make sure that Barbados is CRS compliant,” he said. FATCA, passed by the US Congress in 2010, requires foreign financial institutions to report to the US tax office, the Inland Revenue Service, information about financial accounts held by US taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. President of the anti-money laundering consultancy firm ComplianceAid Michelle Martin said even if local banking institutions were de-risked the country should still ensure it was up to date on a number of tax compliance matters. “If entities de-risk then they are looking for the second tier and to even go back to the first tier they have to have the house in order. If the house is not in order they are not going to be looked at. Obviously, you are going to need a strong AML (anti-money laundering) programme in place where your policies and procedures are not just written but they are tailored to your industry and then to your specific institution,” Martin said. She also warned of the need to have a qualified and capable compliance officer in place, and that requirements under the local tax compliance law were followed, including annual training, audit, risk assessment and controls. Article compliments Barbados Today.
Chile’s President To Visit Barbados
President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, will pay an official visit to Barbados on Thursday, August 24. During her brief stay, President Bachelet will meet with Acting Governor-General, Sir Philip Greaves, in a courtesy call at Government House. Later that day, she will join Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and several senior Government officials at Ilaro Court for a working meeting. In addition, the Chilean President will visit the headquarters of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Lower Estate, St. George, and will also attend a special luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister. President Bachelet will depart Barbados later that afternoon. Article compliments BGIS.
NEW DATE: BIBA Seminar – What Businesses Need to Know about BEPS and DTAs
Please be advised that due to the Tropical Storm Harvey the BIBA Seminar: What Our Businesses Need To Know About BEPS and DTAs which was scheduled to take place on Friday, August 18th, 2017 has been rescheduled to Friday, September 1st, 2017 at the Savannah Beach Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church. BIBA apologises for any inconvenience this may have caused. NB: Registrations and payments already submitted will be honoured for the new date.
Agreement Signed With C’bean Export
Barbados has signed on to a Host Country Agreement with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) to receive support for private sector development. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, and Executive Director of Caribbean Export, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, recently signed the agreement in the Ministry’s conference room, Culloden Road. Senator McClean stated that she was very pleased that after 20 years, both parties had finally signed an official agreement “formally documenting the facilitation efforts”. “I am happy to say that the Government of Barbados was able to offer to the agency the high level of support that we have deemed appropriate for our regional and international partners. “Caribbean Export was established in November 1996 and since then, it has been, and still is, the only regional trade and investment promotion agency in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, and that is an important indicator of its significance and value,” she shared. The Minister noted that there was a long partnership between the agency, the country and the region, and it was a “shining example” of the CARICOM, CARIFORUM and the European Union partnership. Mrs. Coke-Hamilton said that her agency was pleased to formalise its position, and looked forward to continuing to support the Government of Barbados and its private sector. She said that to date, Caribbean Export has assisted over 500 beneficiaries from Barbados with work programme-based initiatives, and subsequently, has spent over $1.8 million supporting private sector development on the island. “As we ramp up the 11th EDF work programme, we hope to continue our support to Barbadian companies. We have already supported a number of Barbadian companies to get grants via the LINK-Caribbean Angel investment programme, and I would encourage any early-stage company that is in need of financial support to explore this programme,” she advised. The Executive Director thanked Senator McClean for her continued support over the years and expressed the hope that Barbados would continue to move in a direction that “promotes a strong and vibrant private sector”. Article compliments BGIS.
Hunte New Director Of Int’l Business
Attorney-at-Law and former Deputy Registrar with responsibility for the Copyright Division at the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO), Kevin Hunte, has been appointed to the post of Director of International Business. Mr. Hunte, who takes up the position from tomorrow, Tuesday, August 15, was previously in private practice for ten years with an emphasis on Conveyancing, Estates and Personal Injuries. He later joined the team at CAIPO in 2009. He was intimately involved in the structuring of the online filing system at CAIPO, particularly from an administrative and legislative point of view. Additionally, together with staff, he worked assiduously to improve the level of customer service and business facilitation at the Companies Division. In May 2016, Mr. Hunte assumed the role of Deputy Registrar (ag.) at the Supreme Court Registry of Barbados. He was assigned responsibility for the Court of Appeal and Caribbean Court of Justice Registries. While there, he played a vital role in vision-casting, administrative stream-lining, rectification of procedural policy and development of staff morale. Article compliments BGIS.
Understanding the Foreign Exchange Fee (FXF)
Acting Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Michelle Doyle-Lowe recently sat down with Public Affairs Officer, Novaline Brewster to discuss the new Foreign Exchange Fee (FXF) and how it will be implemented: Click here to view the video (Link to Central Bank).
Switzerland Interested In Closer Ties
Ambassador of Switzerland to Barbados, Mr. Didier Chassot has presented his credentials to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean. According to the Ambassador, Switzerland was committed to strengthening its relationships in the region and its plans for Barbados included collaborating on matters related to tourism and cultural affairs. He also expressed a desire to offer assistance in the implementation of relevant monitoring systems that would ensure the protection and preservation of the island’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Senator McClean agreed and added that Barbados was also interested in deepening bilateral relations in the area of tourism, as well as education and training opportunities for students and teachers. She said that the Government of Barbados was also desirous of negotiating a new Double Taxation Agreement with Switzerland, given the outdated status of the current one which was signed between the United Kingdom and Switzerland in 1954. Barbados and the Swiss Confederation established formal diplomatic ties on March 4, 1980. Article compliments BGIS
FSC Appoints New CEO
FSC’s newly appointed CEO, Kester Guy (second from left) is being congratulated by chairman, Sir Frank Alleyne. Looking on are fellow Board commissioners Lawson Yearwood (third from left) and Basil Murray. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) has a new chief executive officer. Kester Guy, who was acting in the post since January this year, has been given a clear mandate by the FSC Board of Commissioners to head the local regulatory body. Chairman of FSC, Sir Frank Alleyne, made the official announcement to staff on Tuesday morning indicating that Guy had been fully endorsed by the commissioners as “the right person to take FSC forward”. Sir Frank explained to the over 50 staff members gathered to welcome their new CEO, that the process of selection was very extensive. “We hold the view that the most important decision the Board will make in relation to staff is the choice of CEO. We used the most modern methods available to us and after careful scrutiny, made a recommendation that has now been confirmed by Cabinet,” said Sir Frank. Guy, who moves from his substantive post of deputy CEO, Supervision & Regulation, is the second Board-appointed CEO at FSC. He is a career regulator and economist with an extensive background in research and quantitative analysis. His most recent post before joining FSC was that of assistant director at the Central Bank of Barbados. He has also held the post of CEO of Barbados Deposit Insurance Cooperation, senior economist at the Central Bank of Barbados and economist at the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. Article compliments the Financial Services Commission,
BARBADOS’ BILATERAL TREATY NETWORK AS AT JULY 17th, 2017
Please see following updated version of Barbados’ Bilateral Treaty Network as at July 17th, 2017 with the most recent update highlighted. Barbados’ Bilateral Treaty Network 17-07-2017
Canada Values Barbados Relationship
“Canada values its long-standing and current relationship with Barbados”. This was the assurance given by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development of Canada, Celina Caesar-Chavannes to Barbados’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean during a recent courtesy call held in the Conference Room of the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael. The Canadian official stated that her country continues to value its bilateral relations and is “sensitive to the vulnerabilities of small island states”. She stressed that her presence represented Canadas’s dedication to listening and understanding the challenges with which the island is faced, and also to discuss any possible opportunities which could arise, for future collaborations. Senator McClean shared that one of the challenges Barbados, and many countries in the region continued to face, were their vulnerability to unpredictable weather patterns, and extended weather, which can and has previously wreaked havoc on many countries in the region. Speaking to their bilateral relationship, she reiterated the strength of their good relations and maintained that the Government of Barbados is appreciative of their past and present collaborations. The Foreign Minister also told the Parliamentary Secretary about the Ministry’s hopes to collaborate in business opportunities which “have the potential for significant growth”, highlighting Science Technology, as one such area. The two officials also discussed the recently concluded 2017 G20 Hamburg summit and pledged to explore further areas for possible collaboration. Article compliments BGIS.
BIBA Charity Praised For Health Care Support
Health Minister John Boyce has praised the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) and its partners for their continued commitment to the strengthening of the health care system in Barbados. Speaking at a presentation ceremony of two autoclave machines by BIBA to the Eunice Gibson Polyclinic in Warrens, Mr. Boyce disclosed that over the last five years, BIBA had donated more than BDS$350 000 in equipment and educational materials to the island’s polyclinics. Today’s donation, valued at BDS$40 000, is part of a $168 000 commitment to the Eunice Gibson Polyclinic. The two major donors were Chancery Reinsurance Limited and Shell Western. The Health Minister said that the new equipment would augment the Polyclinic’s infection control programme, noting that proper sterilisation of medical devices, instruments and supplies used in the direct care of patients was a critical aspect of the primary health care delivery system. He disclosed that other equipment which would be provided to the Polyclinic through the charity’s future fundraising efforts included Vital Signs Monitors and OB/GYN equipment and instruments. The equipment earmarked for the Polyclinic was outlined in a prospectus developed by the polyclinic and BIBA last year. Mr. Boyce said that the healthcare system faced many challenges that revolved not only around financing, but also an aging infrastructure and the pursuit of costly advances in treatments and appropriate health technology. There were also higher operating expenses, he added, especially associated with the treatment and prevention of non-communicable diseases and the impact of violence and road traffic accidents. “The Government of Barbados continues, despite all the challenges, to strive to provide the highest affordable quality health care possible and guarantee universal access to health care. “Our commitment to healthcare delivery, along with philanthropic contributions such as this one, is emerging as a significant means by which our healthcare system can enhance the availability of resources,” the Minister of Health concluded. Article compliments BGIS.
Barbados joins “Inclusive Framework on BEPS” to work on international tax issues
Barbados has become the 101st jurisdiction to join the “Inclusive Framework on BEPS,” which is a group of countries that have pledged to implement measures aimed at preventing tax avoidance by multinationals and improving tax dispute resolution, reports mnetax.com These measures were designed by OECD and G20 countries in the 2015 base erosion profit shifting (BEPS) project. The OECD also said the first progress report produced by the Inclusive Framework will be published tomorrow. The Inclusive Framework was established in January 2016, after the G20 leaders urged the timely implementation of the BEPS package. Article compliments IFC Review.
New Foreign Exchange Fee Contains Exemptions for IBFS Sector
The new Foreign Exchange Fee (FXF), the two percent commission on foreign currency purchases and payments that was first announced by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler during his presentation at the 2017 Statement of Estimates and Budgetary Proposals in May, will include exemptions for entities in the International Business and Financial Services (IBFS) Sector. A guidance note issued at the end of June by the Central Bank of Barbados, which is overseeing the implementation, said that the FXF would not apply to“transactions from foreign currency accounts held by the international business and financial services sector”. The same note outlined the timelines for the implementation of the new fee: over-the-counter purchases of foreign currency, including cash and bank drafts, and payments of wire transfers will become subject to the FXF from July 17, 2017; while the fee would be applied to foreign transactions made using personal or corporate credit cards, debit cards and pre-paid travel cards from September 1, 2017. According to the Central Bank, the staggered rollout is to allow commercial banks and other financial institutions a longer window to adjust their computer systems. The Central Bank also provided specifics about when and how the fee will apply, notably that it will only be on foreign currency purchases and outbound foreign currency transactions and not on incoming funds, so deposits of foreign currency and foreign currency being converted to Barbados dollars will not be subject to the fee. In addition, the Bank confirmed that the FXF will be calculated on the Barbadian value of the transaction, and that it will not affect annual foreign currency allowances. The full guidance note, along with additional information about the Foreign Exchange Fee can be found at www.centralbank.org.bb/foreign-exchange/foreignexchangefee.
Barbados attains “largely compliant” ranking by OECD’s Global Forum
Barbados was recognized by the OECD’s Global Forum as a transparent and highly cooperative jurisdiction- receiving the ranking of “largely compliant” during 2016. The OECD’s Global Forum is the highest global authority on transparency and the exchange of information for tax purposes. For context regarding Barbados’ “largely compliant” ranking by the OECD’s Global Forum, other nations with the same “largely compliant” ranking include: Austria, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. Additionally, Barbados recorded a net addition of 11 captive insurance entities for the fiscal year ended March 2017 – raising its total from 235 captives in 2015/2016 to 246 captives in 2016/2017. Though Barbados serves a truly international market, approximately 81% of the companies originated from either Canada or the USA. “As evidenced by the steady growth in new captive insurance registrations, it is clear that Barbados retains its status as a preferred jurisdiction in which to conduct international business”, said Senator, the Honorable Darcy Boyce, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Energy, Immigration, Telecommunication and Invest Barbados. “The reasons for such growth are clear. Barbados has long been recognised for its network of double taxation agreements, transparency, strong regulatory environment, forward thinking legislation, world-class infrastructure, a well-educated labour force and its ability to foster international trade.” “We will maintain our focus on the enhancement of Barbados’ ability to legally and ethically facilitate international trade – trade that brings prosperity to all nations that choose to participate in the global economy. Importantly too, we will continue to encourage the creation of businesses of substance,” affirmed Senator Boyce. Article compliments Invest Barbados.
Sandals on Track to Open Second Barbados Hotel This Winter
Leading Caribbean all-inclusive resort Sandals says it’s on track to roll out a “game changer” in Barbados this winter season. Sandals Royal Barbados will open the red carpet to luxury and indulgence when it opens the doors to the new 502-room property just before Christmas. It will be the second Sandals resort in the island. “Sandals Royal Barbados is progressing as it should and will most certainly be open and ready to welcome its first guests, as promised, on December 20,” says hotel magnate Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart. Guests are in for a treat of extravagance at the property, which will offer 222 concierge and butler-level suites, and an extensive crystal lagoon pool complex including swim-up suites. Amenities will include the brand’s very first gentlemen’s only barber shop; a full-service, 15,000-square foot spa; four bars; and five signature dining establishments, including French, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisines, as well as new American and Asian-fusion concepts. The new property, which is adjacent to its sister Sandals Barbados on Dover Beach on the island’s south coast, will also introduce the brand’s first-ever rooftop infinity pool, as well as an entertainment pavilion featuring a bowling alley, living room and game room that Stewart says were designed to foster on-demand entertainment. The resort will also have a 6,000-square foot conference facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Local tourism officials are excited about the prospects. “An established brand such as Sandals inspires great confidence in Barbados as a destination as we promote our island’s diverse, high calibre product offerings around the world,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. William ‘Billy’ Griffith. “We are certain that this latest addition to our product profile will bring even more benefits to our tourism economy and we anticipate that this will augment our marketing efforts in all of our major source markets.” Article compliments Caribbean360.
Multifaceted partnership key to strong diplomatic relations with Canada
BARBADOS and Canada have always enjoyed a strong partnership. This was the key message that Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Freundel Stuart delivered to those present at the 150th birthday celebrations of Canada on Saturday night. He acknowledged the relationship saying that from humble beginnings more than 50 years ago, Canada was one of the first nations that Barbados established diplomatic relations with upon attaining its independence. Later, High Commissions were set up in their respective countries, first a Barbados High Commission in Canada in 1967, which was then reciprocated when Canada established a High Commission here in 1973. “Over the years, the relations between Barbados and Canada have expanded to encompass a wide variety of areas and we are now partners in a multifaceted enterprise of economic, political and cultural cooperation,” PM Stuart said. The two countries continued to build on this relationship where by the mid-1970s, Canada emerged as the No.1 source market for visitor arrivals. He continued, “By the 1980s the partnership between Canada and the region as a whole had strengthened to such an extent that the Commonwealth Caribbean was designated as an area of priority in Canadian foreign policy. The designation was accompanied by a commitment to the doubling of development assistance to the region, from which of course Barbados was destined to benefit.” The Prime Minister stated that this relationship continues even today with many Barbadians choosing to pursue tertiary level studies and other opportunities in that North American country. Adding that “For our part, not only have we welcomed visitors from Canada in a steady stream over the years, but we have also embraced Canadians – just shy of 12 000 of them who now call Barbados home. This kinship between Barbados and Canada is a credit to both of us.” He said that later this year, on September 24, the Barbados High Commission in Ottawa will join in the year-long celebrations of this milestone event, which would also celebrate Canada’s diversity in an event dubbed, ‘Ottawa Welcomes the World.’ Article compliments the Barbados Advocate.
New Foreign Exchange Fee to take effect from Mid-July
The two percent (2%) fee on purchases of foreign currency that was first announced by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, during the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals will now go into effect for cash, bank drafts and wire transfers on Monday, July 17, 2017. Credit, debit and travel cards will become subject to the fee from September 1. The fee, which was initially supposed to be in place from July 1, is intended to raise revenue for the Government. Central Bank of Barbados Acting Governor, Cleviston Haynes, whose organisation will oversee the rollout of the fee, explained that the delay is to allow the public to become familiar with the new fee. “These additional two weeks will give us the opportunity to educate Barbadians about the Foreign Exchange Fee so that they are clear on what types of transactions it relates to and how it will be applied. This will help to ensure that there is a smooth and orderly introduction of the FXF.” Haynes revealed that the extended lead time for credit, debit and travel cards is to allow commercial banks and other credit card providers a longer window to adjust their computer systems. “We have been in consultation with The Barbados Bankers Association and, based on their feedback, we will provide them with additional time to complete the work that needs to be done so that cardholders will be able to clearly identify what portion of their payment for foreign purchases is due to the FXF.” The FXF will be applied to the Barbados value of the foreign currency transaction. From July 17, persons buying US$500 in cash at a rate of 2.02857 will pay $1,034.57 instead of $1,014.30, as shown below: US Value Exchange Rate BBD Value FXF (2%) Total Payment $ 500.00 2.02857 $1,014.30 20.29 $1,034.57 All persons conducting purchases of foreign currency will be required to pay the FXF, except residents and non-residents making payments from their foreign currency accounts, including entities in the International Business and Financial Services (IBFS) sector. The FXF is also not applicable to foreign currency sales related to the settlement of transactions for the bulk purchase of petroleum, diesel or jet fuel, where documentary evidence has been provided to the authorised dealer. In the coming days the Bank will carry out a public education campaign. We will be placing pamphlets in the commercial banks and other key locations; we will be producing videos that will be broadcast on television and posted on our social media channels; and of course, our website will have detailed information on every aspect of the FXF. In addition, we encourage anyone who has questions about the fee to contact the Central Bank. The Bank also issued a guidance note to the new Foreign Exchange Fee. Press Release compliments the Central Bank of Barbados.