Presenter Gwenaelle Le Costumer of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, addressing participants. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

Many of the region’s competent authorities and tax administrations have little or no experience with the practice of exchange of information for tax purposes and, as a result, they are now faced with the challenge of implementing international standards.

Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, said that was why the Exchange of Information Training seminar, currently being held at Hilton Barbados under the theme: Effective Processes and Peer Reviews, was timely.

The three-day seminar, which started on Wednesday, November 21, is being hosted by the Government of Barbados and facilitated by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. It is designed to provide participants with tools to "get up to speed" with best practices in exchange of information and to be ready for the Global Forum’s Phase 2 Peer Review process, scheduled for the first quarter of 2013.

"Whether it is tourism services, international business services, or indeed global financial services, we in this region find ourselves commonly placed and facing similar challenges and opportunities.?? This stark reality, brings us to the realisation that we must share our resources, talents and collective energies from Bermuda in the north to Guyana in the south, to engage the world and create niche markets in our search for economic prosperity.

"I firmly believe that as small open economies, we must continue to be engaged in export-led activities, continuously expanding our global reach through innovative processes. Consequently, we must be more competitive than we are today and provide a regulatory environment which meets internationally accepted standards in all its facets," the Minister stressed.

He told delegates attending the seminar it was imperative that, as the regulators of the international business sector in their respective countries, they harnessed their collective ideas and experiences to implement intelligent decisions "that will contribute to the increased wealth and prosperity of our nations".??

Mr. Hutson pointed out that the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index for 2012-2013, in its "Stages of Development", had classified Barbados as a country transitioning from an efficiency-driven economy to an innovation-driven economy.?? This transition, the Minister explained, had been predicated on the expansion and development of trade in services.

He suggested that the focus of the seminar should be placed on the systems and procedures for the effective implementation of best practices for the exchange of information.

Mr. Hutson added that the outcomes of the seminar should include how the competent authorities could efficiently address and respond to incoming requests; how auditors could use the exchange of information agreements to make relevant requests; and outline the administrative and institutional needs in this regard.


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