Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss addresses the International Business Week Conference today. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, is encouraging members of the international business sector to study the work of the Forum on Harmful Tax Practices.

He said this research must be conducted within the context of Government’s commitment to the sustainability of this sector and its operation on a level that provides a secure jurisdiction to conduct business.

Addressing the International Business Week Conference under the theme: Prospering in the Technological Era: Innovate, Integrate and Motivate, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre today, the Minister told his audience that Barbados joined the inclusive Forum in July and in so doing, was committed to the Base Erosion Profit Sharing Action Plan (BEPs) framework and its consistent implementation.

Mr. Inniss added: “We, therefore, collaborate on an equal footing with other members and will work to tackle tax avoidance; improving the coherence of international tax rules; and ensuring a more transparent tax environment. We, therefore, have work to do. We must refocus our efforts on making the necessary amendments to the legislation to ensure that it meets the relevant standards and provides for the substantial business activity on which our “offshore” sector was built.”

The Industry Minister also told his audience that Government was currently preparing Barbados’ draft Multilateral Instrument (MLI) position for signature before year end.  He explained that this instrument was an important element of the BEPs Action plan, and is one of the four minimum standards, required in order to implement the tax treaty-related aspects of BEPs.

“Instead of a bilateral treaty renegotiation process that would take decades, the MLI will allow the entry into force, in a shorter time span, of tax treaty-related BEPs measures. I am sure you will agree, that our country’s tax treaty network has been one of the pillars on which the international business sector has stood.

This growing network is testament to Barbados’ cooperation and demonstration of an understanding of issues that affect tax systems of partner jurisdictions. The Government of Barbados is committed to honouring these Agreements, negotiated in a spirit of mutual trust, cooperation and respect.”  Mr. Inniss emphasised.

Going forward, the Minister alluded to the strengthening of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework of the international business sector and Barbados’ Mutual Evaluation report.

He said the latter would be discussed at the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Plenary session next month and updates and revisions to the national AML/CFT regime would be informed by the outcome of that exercise.

He urged sector officials to embrace the challenging times and advised them to take a proactive stance and equip their businesses and staff with the necessary skills, technologies and knowledge to address the new changes.

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