Government Committed to Improving International Business

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Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson delivering the feature address today.??(C.Pitt/BGIS)

Government remains committed to the removal of any impediments standing in the way of investors to Barbados.

This assurance has come from Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, as he addressed the launch of International Business week at Hilton Barbados today.

Mr. Huston said his Ministry was of the view that business facilitation was a key element in attracting and retaining investors from an expression of interest in a project, to the stage of actually of an investing in Barbados.

"The Ministry is cognisant of the need to address such issues in order to attract and retain business, and therefore, will continue to intensify its efforts to engage the relevant ministries and departments of Government, service providers and other relevant stakeholders with a view to implementing initiatives to facilitate business activities in Barbados throughout their life cycle," he said.

He told those present, including President of the Barbados International Business Association, Melanie Jones, that Barbados’ network of tax and investment treaties continued to play a critical role in defining its competitive advantage as an international business and financial services centre.

"As of September 19, 2012, Barbados had 31 Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) in force with major countries and trading partners," he disclosed. The Minister further pointed out that recent DTAs initialed and awaiting signature were with Bahrain, Singapore, San Marino, Slovak Republic and Qatar.

He added that Barbados had moved onto Phase 2 of the Global Forum Peer Review which was scheduled for the first quarter of 2012. "The review will seek to determine whether the legal and regulatory framework allows for the country to effectively exchange tax information in accordance with the international standard," he said.

Mr. Hutson pointed out that Cabinet approved the setting-up of a Committee headed by the Permanent Secretary in his Ministry to ensure a smooth and successful transition through the Phase 2 process.

"My Ministry, in collaboration with the Global Forum, will be hosting a workshop next month?? in Barbados which will be geared to assist Caribbean countries with preparations for the Global Forum’s Phase 2 Review," he told those present.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hutson said a task force was formed with strategic partners to the international business sector to follow-up on the crafting of the new strategic plan which would run from 2013 to 2017, and set the tone for addressing 21st century challenges and exploit new opportunities when the global economy turns around.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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