|Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, and Minister of State in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Henry Bellingham, shake hands after co-signing the agreement. (A. Gaskin/BGIS)|
Barbados can now exchange international business information with the United Kingdom (UK) following the signing of the Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital.
The Convention was signed this morning by Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, and Minister of State in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Henry Bellingham, at Government Headquarters, in Bay Street, St. Michael.
Mr. Hutson stressed that the Convention addressed observations made in the Global Forum’s Phase 1 Peer Review Report of Barbados, which indicated that this country did not exchange information on international business entities with the UK because they were excluded from the existing Agreement which dated back to 1970.
"With the update of the exchange of information provisions, the international business entities are now covered by the Convention and Barbados can, therefore, exchange information on these entities," the Minister said.
He added that the signing of the Agreement continued the strong and positive relationship for Barbados and the UK as it updated the exchange of information Article of the existing Convention to bring it in line with current international standards on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.
And, as Barbados moves onto Phase 2 of the Review scheduled for the first quarter of next year, the Minister pointed out the revised Convention would unquestionably enhance the investment framework between the two countries and contribute to the expedition of trade and investment activity.
"This is, therefore, an important step in deepening mutual co-operation in matters of international taxation and would further bolster relations between Barbados and the United Kingdom," Mr. Hutson said.
He stressed that both governments had a responsibility to ensure that the Agreement worked to the benefit of the two countries.
During the signing, Mr. Bellingham stated that the Agreement sent a clear signal that Barbados and the UK were serious about increasing trade. But, he said, it would be a work in progress.
He added that the Agreement would also reduce the level of bureaucracy and burden on international businesses coming to Barbados, and those seeking to export to the UK.
"Businesses [engaged in trade] need taxation arrangements that are fit for purpose," Mr. Bellingham said. He pointed out that Barbados and the UK had relatively low competitive taxes for companies and personal taxes.
"We believe in having the right conditions for enterprise and business, and the important framework is to have in place a tax system that is fit for purpose and that meets international standards, and gives businesses comfort. [In addition], both governments must be able to raise the tax that is due," the UK Minister indicated.