Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson

Government has underscored its continued commitment to the upkeep of the International Business sector, to ensure that the highest international standards are maintained and that Barbados remains a jurisdiction of choice.

This was reiterated by Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, yesterday as he addressed the Barbados International Business Association’s (BIBA) monthly networking luncheon at the Savannah Hotel.

In speaking about Government’s role in charting a new course for the sector, within the current global economic crisis, he underlined: “We remain steadfast in our resolve to fashion Barbados into the primary international business and financial services centre in the Western hemisphere, driven by the expansion and diversification of the international business industry.”

This expansion, Minister Hutson surmised, could be achieved through the attraction of reputable international business companies, an enhanced tax and investment treaty network and the promotion of indigenous export-oriented services, thus fostering job creation and increased foreign exchange generation.

While lauding the sector for its “tremendous resilience” in withstanding external shocks including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) initiative on harmful tax competition and tax havens; the Financial Action Task Force initiative on money laundering; and the developments emanating  from the September 11, 2001 attacks,  Minister Hutson said the current global financial crisis was another challenge, “the magnitude of which had not been encountered in the past quarter of a century.

“I can assure you, however, the government will not sit idly by and watch any ensuing chaos unfurl within the sector,” he pledged.

To this end, the International Business spokesman said Government had already commissioned and endorsed the ‘Barbados Short and Medium Term Action Plan’ which proposed a modest fiscal stimulus, and a number of functional measures which would allow the country to emerge from the crisis as a more competitive economy.

Additionally,  Minister  Hutson  noted that the International Business Unit had also “responded proactively” by drafting  the industry-specific ‘Short and Medium Term Action Plan for the International Business Sector 2009 – 2011’ in an attempt to   tackle the perceived impact of the economic downturn, while mitigating potential loss.

In outlining the Ministry’s focus in the coming financial year, Minister Hutson said steps would be taken to strengthen its administrative and operational systems, including review of the information and computer technology environment within which the International Business Unit executed its regulatory and supervisory functions.

He added that the implementation of revised license application forms, aimed at garnering more statistics on the composition of business  entities within the sector,  as well as the aggressive pursuit of formal linkages between the tourism and  international business sectors were also among the Ministry’s short term plans. 

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