MESSAGE FROM SENATOR THE HON. DARCY BOYCEMINISTER IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTERWelcome to the 2017 edition of the Barbados International Finance & Business magazine, being published at a time when our country has recently marked a significant milestone – 50 years of nationhood. As we reflect on Barbados’ progress post-independence, there are many developments of which we can be justly proud. However, we know that we must keep working harder for our country to remain a compelling and attractive choice for investors in an ever changing, increasingly competitive global business environment. Barbados’ success to date as an international financial centre (IFC) may be attributed to several factors including a commitment to transparency, encouragement of business of substance and adherence to standards of international best practice. Just as important, has been the Government’s people-centred approach, in recognising that our human capital is the country’s most valuable resource. The ongoing investment in its citizens by successive Barbados governments has resulted in the creation of a critical mass of skilled professionals and service providers who, together with public sector stakeholders, continue to drive the development and growth of the country’s international business and financial services (IB&FS) sector. This collaborative approach has been a key factor in Barbados’ successful navigation of the many challenges confronting IFCs over the years, such as the growing demands for exchange of tax information, issues related to the USA’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and the base erosion and profit shifting initiative, among others.Barbados remains committed to the expansion of its bilateral treaty network, the foundation upon which the IB&FS sector has been built. With 37 double taxation agreements (DTAs) in force, five tax information exchange agreements and nine bilateral investment treaties, the country continues to identify other opportunities for the conclusion of such treaties. Barbados is a signatory to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. Just recently, the jurisdiction was upgraded to “largely compliant” by the OECD and continues to implement the necessary administrative and legislative changes to ensure full compliance.During the past year, a Barbados/United Arab Emirates DTA entered into force, a Barbados/Slovak Republic DTA was signed and the International Securities Market on the Barbados Stock Exchange was launched. Additionally, the Foundations legislation was proclaimed and the Incorporated Cell Companies Act was introduced to further enhance the range of wealth management options available to the international insurance industry. The Corporate and Trust Services Providers Act came into effect and there was further progress towards the establishment of a regional arbitration centre in Barbados.Notwithstanding, fresh challenges continue to emerge. Currently, Barbados, like other Caribbean countries, is grappling with the global issue of de-risking by international banks and its negative impact on the international business sector. The Government of Barbados is giving its full attention to this serious matter, which threatens to reverse many of the gains that our country has realised over the years. Invest Barbados, along with a number of other government agencies, will continue to work even more closely with stakeholders to address, and seek to remove expeditiously, any other impediments to the smooth conduct of business in Barbados. As the global economic and political landscape continues to evolve, the future may appear ever more uncertain. Never before has there been a greater imperative for us, as a nation, to build on that spirit of resilience that has brought us thus far, to adapt to the changing global environment, to move forward together, united in our goal to position Barbados as the wealth management centre of choice in the Western Hemisphere. Together we must work to ensure that Barbados remains an inviting and welcoming domicile, conducive to the growth and development of business for many more years to come. Senator The Hon. Darcy BoyceMinister in the Office of the Prime Minister2017 BARBADOS INTERNATIONAL FINANCE & BUSINESS 5 4 BARBADOS INTERNATIONAL FINANCE & BUSINESS 2017
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