International Business Minister, Donville Inniss, has sought to counteract negative comments that branded Barbados as a tax haven by reassuring Canadian investors that Barbados’ actions are above board.
In a message to approximately 100 Canadian company advisors and potential investors, Inniss reiterated that the island was still a domicile of choice for international business.
He made these comments during a recent promotional tour to Canada with the Barbados Investment Promotion Corporation, also known as Invest Barbados, when that organisation hosted an investment seminar at the Hyatt hotel in Toronto.
Inniss explained that he and his team had one-on-one meetings with tax advisors, company advisors, attorneys and accountants in an effort to bring together interested investors to discuss what Barbados has to offer.
“As one can appreciate, the International Business and Financial Services Sector is key to this economy and current estimates are that we contribute almost $900 million a year to Barbados’ economy… This is facilitated through the establishment of almost 4,000 companies in the international business sector whether they are licensed under one of our pieces of legislation or whether they are regular Barbados companies that are doing international business,” he said.
Noting that they went to Canada against the backdrop of increased public outcry and condemnation of jurisdictions around the world that offered low-cost solutions to those doing international business, Inniss lamented that it was extremely unfortunate that several public commentators considered Barbados a tax haven and in turn linked the country to jurisdictions that were really tax havens.
He said: “We sought to convey that Barbados is by no means a tax haven and I think that is one message that we put out there very clearly. We also impressed upon them that we … are serious about business based on the fact that we have excellent treaties that work, and work well.
“We also emphasised that Barbados continues to be the preferred choice for Canadian investors seeking to have a true global reach, as we were able to showcase how using Barbadian structures have and will continue to benefit Canadian entities through their global expansion as well as through their domestic work.”
The minister added that coming out of the trip he expected to see an increase in investment coming Barbados’ way from Canada, particularly for those who were seeking to expand their business globally.