The Barbados International Business Symposium, which was held recently in Toronto, Canada, proved to be another successful collaboration between Invest Barbados and the Rotman School of Management (Rotman). This was further enhanced by the inclusion of MNP LLP as a co-sponsor.
A symposium is held annually as part of Barbados’ Canadian promotional outreach, and this second event with Rotman attracted approximately 200 attendees. It was described as “very well organised with informative presentation and discussion sessions”. In addition to providing empirical insight into how Barbados is positioned to facilitate the international activities of Canadian investors, the event was also seen as a welcomed networking opportunity.
Attendees comprised finance and tax professionals, lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs, senior executives and members of the media; while economic sectors represented included the financial and legal services, mining, manufacturing, science and technology, government and real estate.
Senator, The Hon. Darcy Boyce, Barbados’ Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Energy, Immigration, Telecommunications and Invest Barbados, delivered the feature address. He noted that the relationship between Barbados and Canada was reciprocal in nature.
“The Barbados-Canada connection works to facilitate business expansion and global competitiveness of the Canadian businesses.” He added that the connection also worked “to facilitate significant, positive and sustainable development in the Canadian economy, as well as in Barbados.”
Senator Boyce reiterated that Barbados’ objective was to strengthen the bond between the nations. “We will continue to negotiate double taxation treaties to facilitate additional Canadian outward investment into new markets.”
Professor Walid Hejazi, Associate Professor of International Business at Rotman, also highlighted during his presentation, the key benefits that were derived from Canada’s inward and outward foreign direct investment (FDI). He explained that some of the advantages of inward FDI included foreign capital, foreign technology and enhanced domestic investment; while some of the advantages of outward FDI were to allow Canadian companies to operate internationally, open foreign markets to Canadian exports, enhance head office functions in Canada and contribute to Canadian employment.
Professor Hejazi also reinforced the attributes that make Barbados an investment jurisdiction of choice, including its highly educated and skilled workforce, strong legal system and rule of law, and its safe and high quality environment. It was acknowledged that such qualities are important to investors and are highly ranked in comparison to some zero-tax jurisdictions.
During his presentation, Dale Hill, Partner, Gowling Lafleur Henderson, also noted that with regards to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting initiative, Barbados’ position, from a Canadian perspective, was likely to improve versus other international jurisdictions due to the provisions of the Barbados/Canada double taxation agreement.
Other presenters on the programme included Mr. Ethan Fieldman, MBA candidate, Rotman, University of Toronto and Mr. Jas Hayre, Partner, International Tax, MNP. Columnist of the Globe and Mail, Author and Personal Finance Expert, Mr. Preet Banerjee was the programme coordinator.