Canadians should now have a better appreciation for the true benefits that can be derived from International Financial Centres (IFCs), specifically those emanating from IFCs such as Barbados. These benefits were highlighted at the recently held International Tax Structures and Global Competitiveness Seminar @ Rotman, co-hosted by Invest Barbados and the Rotman School of Management. The educational seminar, which was very well received, took place at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Canada.
Professor of Business Economics at the Rotman School of Management, Walid Hejazi shared the results of his recently updated study, which focuses on Canadian companies that use Barbados as a conduit into the global economy. The results, according to Professor Hejazi, indicated that “…when Canadian companies use Barbados to penetrate these third markets in the emerging world, the benefits are much higher than when they use these structures to access developed markets.”
In his presentation he further revealed that Canada’s use of Barbados as an international business hub resulted in a lower cost of capital to Canada, which offset the higher risks associated with operating in foreign markets.
Professor Hejazi also highlighted the positive attributes that made Barbados an attractive location for international business and finance, including its highly educated and skilled workforce, parliamentary democracy and strong legal system, clear understanding of legal compliance and an extensive array of dual tax agreements, in addition to the Canada-Barbados treaty, among others.
Barbados’ Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Energy, Immigration, Telecommunications and Invest Barbados, Senator the Hon. Darcy Boyce also addressed the audience. He further outlined Barbados’ commitment to securing legitimate international business to its shores, as he addressed the topic, ‘Regulation in Offshore Financial Centres: Meeting International Standards’.
“Barbados is a jurisdiction that succeeds in attracting businesses of substance. As a government, we have always embraced the prudence of meeting international standards in order to protect the international business which was expected and has now become a key component of the Barbadian economy,” said Minister Boyce.
He also commended Canada’s banking system, which was “exemplary” and “considered one of the world’s strongest and best regulated.” He noted that Canada’s banking system was one which Barbados could emulate as best practice relative to its regulatory framework, since “Barbados’ banking industry is in many ways an offshoot of Canada’s and the Barbados banking supervisors retain close ties with their Canadian counterparts.”
The highly qualified cadre of international speakers presented on current issues impacting international business and financial centres globally. Other speakers included: Dale Hill and Jim Wilson, both Partners of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP (Ottawa); Alison R. Manzer, Partner of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP; Ben Arrindell, Deputy Chairman of CIDEL; and the Hon. David H. Oliver, Consultant to the Government of Barbados. The Seminar attracted approximately 150 persons comprising potential investors, educators, international tax and business professionals, as well as members of the media.