Barbados is reaching out to Latin America in an effort to attract international business companies, and is using its “favourable tax treaties and tax laws” as a hook.
And even though the business community has expressed concerns over heavy losses in revenue from the sector, and in the wake of its blacklisting as a tax haven by some international agencies and America states, those involved in the offshore sector say the facilitation process here, as well a highly skilled workforce, continue to make Barbados attractive as a home for international businesses.
Among those championing the cause today was Kenneth Campbell, the director of investment promotion at Invest Barbados, who told a seminar for Latin American service providers that companies were opting for Barbados as their place of domicile because of its reputation as “a very well-regulated centre” and that “the process of doing business in Barbados as well as the network of double taxation treaties and the ability to provide substance” were favourable.
“We have the service providers here in Barbados, all of who are very competent and are able to provide the support to set up the businesses [and] for the processes that are required. The legislation has all of the checks and balances that international players are looking for, hence making Barbados a good place to do business,” Campbell told the Invest Barbados sponsored event dubbed LATAM Inward Mission at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
The one-day event, which attracted just over a dozen Latin American based providers, including lawyers, accountants and tax advisors, was designed to bring them up to speed on the range of benefits associated with domiciling a business here.
“Taxation is of interest [to those companies]. However, for most of the businesses the facilitation process is by far a major component of deciding of coming,” Campbell stressed.
The “protection” that companies receive under the various treaties that Barbados has signed with a number of countries was also touted by Giles Carmichael, a partner with Chancery Chamber, which has worked with companies in several jurisdictions, ranging from Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands to Columbia, Panama and Venezuela.
“In my experience some entities have continued to Barbados to gain investor protection under the bilateral investment treaties or to take advantage of our extensive double tax treaty network,” Carmichael said.
“We have recently seen many UK [United Kingdom] entities continuing to Barbados due to the UK anti-hybrid rules where certain financing hybrid entities were previously not being taxed in the UK and they are currently being taxed. Interestingly, we have certain entities that continue to Barbados while maintaining registration in the state of Delaware in the US where you are allowed to have dual domicile. Quite a novel idea,” he stressed.
Just last month, Executive Director of Barbados International Business Association Henderson Holmes complained that the country’s number two sector after tourism had lost over $200 million in recent years.
Over the years, several organizations and at least two US states have also blacklisted Barbados as a tax haven, a charge repeatedly dismissed by Inniss, who has explained that the island is a low tax jurisdiction, not a tax haven.
However, those issues took a back seat today as the minister focused on existing and developing tax treaties and double taxation agreements between Barbados and the Spanish-speaking nations.
Inniss gave the assurance that Government was in the process of introducing new products, improving regulatory compliance standards, and enhancing the local business environment in order to attract even more business.
“Barbados is committed to signing the multilateral instrument by the end of January 2018, which will introduce into our treaty network, currently 38 double taxation agreements, provisions to counter treaty abuse.
“We diligently are reviewing all of our treaties and will be collaborating on equal footing with partner countries to make the necessary amendments to legislation to ensure relevant international standards are met,” Inniss said. \\