Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson (FP)

Barbados is enhancing its reputation as a modern international business and financial services domicile, through the continued expansion of its treaty network.

Speaking at a recent signing of the Barbados-Luxembourg Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) in London, Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, expressed satisfaction at the agreement, which he said signified the understanding reached by the two countries concerning the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and capital.

"I believe that coupled with our ??Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), by virtue of the Barbados/Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union, this Convention will certainly enhance our investment infrastructure and product offerings. Investors in our countries will have access to more opportunities with the added assurance of the promotion and protection of their investments.

"It is also important to note that this Convention makes abundantly clear the commitment of our two countries to the principles of transparency and tax information exchange that we have agreed upon. I am pleased, therefore, that we have been able to take the opportunity to bring the language of our Convention into conformity with what obtains in our tax treaty network," he underlined.

Minister Hutson further observed that the Convention "sent a clear message about the commonality of approach and purpose that both Barbados and Luxembourg had in respect of the areas of international taxation covered by the Convention."

Addressing a reception held in Barbados to commemorate the signing, Minister Hutson said he was optimistic that investors would find the treaty attractive. He also expressed the hope that it would provide for opportunities in their respective new markets by virtue of regional arrangements such as CARICOM, and the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union, of which the two countries are members.

"I, therefore, look forward to investors taking advantage of the opportunities in areas such as financial services, tourism, cultural services, research and development, and educational services. I am also hopeful to see our people collaborating in joint ventures to provide new and innovative solutions and fill niches in the respective markets," Minister Hutson told persons attending the reception, which was hosted by Consul General for Luxembourg, Klaus Priebe.

The International Transport Minister said he was also hopeful that the agreements would set the basis for transportation linkages between their two countries.

Minister Hutson also signed a Protocol to the Barbados-Netherlands DTA in The Hague, on November 27, last year.

To date, Barbados currently has DTAs with the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM), United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, Malta, Sweden, Switzerland, Cuba, Venezuela, China, Mauritius, Botswana, Austria, The Netherlands, Republic of Seychelles, the United Mexican States and the Republic of Ghana.

Additionally, to promote and protect investment, Barbados has also signed Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with Cuba, Venezuela, China, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Mauritius, the Republic of Ghana, and Belgium/Luxembourg Economic Union. Furthermore, a list of priority countries has been devised to commence negotiations with Vietnam, United States of America and Brazil.

Second round negotiations are also under way with India and the Republic of Iceland, with arrangements currently under way for signature of these agreements with the Kingdom of Spain and Italy. Discussions are also in train with Belgium, France and Vietnam and negotiations are expected to commence in the very near future.

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