Minister of International Business, George Hutson and Panamanian Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Juan Carlos Varela signing the Double Taxation Agreement at the Hilton Barbados, while Deputy Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart witnessed the signing. ??

Barbados and Panama will now have the opportunity to build stronger political and economic partnerships, thanks to the signing of a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA).

The signing took place last Monday at the Hilton Barbados with Panamanian Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Juan Carlos Varela coming to the island for the ceremony.

The tax agreement not only seeks to enhance trading and investment opportunities between private sector participants but will also provide new scope for the movement of professors, teachers, artisans and sportspersons between the two countries.

Minister of International Business, George Hutson who signed on behalf of the Government of Barbados, said the caucus symbolised the continuing efforts of his administration to "strategically augment this country as a primary International Business and Financial Services Centre." The signing was also witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart.

Minister Hutson acknowledged that in the context of the current financial climate, the treaty sent a clear message of Barbados’ joint endorsement of the international standard with respect to transparency and tax information exchange.?? He further added that it was an "important step in deepening not only international but regional co-operation in matters of international taxation."

Meanwhile, the Panamanian Vice-President noted that Barbados and Panama had enjoyed a long history which dated back to when a substantial number of Barbadians worked on the construction of the Panama Canal. He pointed out that "many of these Barbadian nationals settled in Panama on a permanent basis and their descendents became integrated into Panamanian society, thus making a positive contribution to the development of the country."??

Mr. Varela stressed that the signing of the DTA was a means of improving the commercial relations between the two nations, thus facilitating trade and the movement of persons.

"…the implementation of a strategy to strengthen the international services sector of Panama, including the removal of our country from the so called "grey list" of "tax havens" of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as the removal of our country from the discriminatory lists of several Latin American and European countries [is welcomed].

"A fundamental aspect of this strategy is the entering into of double taxation agreements.?? In this connection, in less than a year we have negotiated DTA’s with Mexico, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Qatar, Spain, France and Barbados…," he revealed.

Following the signing, bilateral discussions were also held on such areas as Investment and Financial Services; Cultural Cooperation and Shared Ancestry; Tourism; Air Services and Export Trade.

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