MESSAGE FROM THE RT. HON. FREUNDEL J. STUART, Q.C., M.P., PRIME MINISTER OF BARBADOSIt gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this year's edition of our Barbados International Finance and Business magazine, for this is a special year, in which Barbados celebrates its 50th year of nationhood. Throughout these fifty years, our leaders have pursued a deliberate and focused strategy for the diversification of our economy, away from a mono-crop economy and towards one in which the development of tourism and hospitality, light manufacturing industries and the international business and financial services sector has been carefully nurtured.At Independence in 1966, the sugar industry accounted for almost 40% of domestic output, 66% of foreign exchange earnings and 33% of the employed workforce. Today the international business and financial services sector stands second only to tourism as a leading contributor of foreign exchange earnings. Importantly, too, the sector contributes approximately 54% of corporate tax revenues and provides direct employment for over 4,500 persons. Our strategic thinking and action have formed the bedrock of a stable yet dynamic country that offers investors several advantages. These include a well-developed, cost-effective, pro-business environment, consisting of modern infrastructure, cutting-edge telecommunications, an ever-expanding network of tax and investment treaties, an educated workforce and an overall excellent quality of life. In many ways the international business and financial services sector has played a key role in transforming our social, economic and physical landscape, providing the opportunity for hundreds of persons to work in modern offices that are in many cases fully integrated into global value chains. The passage of the International Business Companies Act in 1965 was our first effort at encouraging foreign investors to establish operations in Barbados. Since then we have diversified our product offering and have been steadily expanding the number of foreign entities that have chosen to improve their competitive advantage by establishing operations in Barbados. Activities include international trade, commerce, manufacturing, banking, insurance and wealth management. This diverse product mix bears testimony to the confidence which investors continue to place in our nation, our economy and our people.Barbados' success has resulted largely from the value proposition that characterises the island as a unique domicile of choice for treaty-based businesses of substance, rather than as a high volume, no-tax domicile like many others. Transparency, disclosure and regulation are among the essential tenets of treaty-based business and these elements have become international standard bearers in the inter-connected, global economy. We are committed to sustaining this rich heritage.Barbados has set itself several goals: to become a developed country; to become the most environmentally advanced green country in Latin America and the Caribbean; to become the International Financial and Wealth Management Centre of Choice in the Western Hemisphere, and also to be the entrepreneurial capital of the Caribbean. A vibrant and dynamic international business and financial services sector that generates knowledge-based jobs, high levels of professionalism and service excellence, the transfer of skills, and overall added value, will be key to the realisation of our vision. We remain confident that our past experiences, achievements and our unique brand, have prepared us for the more complex, competitive and challenging circumstances that surround our achieving these goals. We are thankful for the investors and stakeholders who have partnered with us to this stage of our development. With these valued partners at our side, we have a bright future to transform into reality. We were happy to host the 8th Meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in Barbados, from 29-30 October 2015, and to show the world the benefits of our jurisdiction.The international business and financial services sector will undoubtedly see us through to another fifty successful years and beyond. Already, additional opportunities are beckoning, particularly in business process outsourcing, cultural industries, educational services, health tourism, mediation and arbitration, and also in renewable energy ... to name a few areas. We invite you to come to Barbados and to let your business be part of our exciting future together! 2016 BARBADOS INTERNATIONAL FINANCE & BUSINESS
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