The Government of Barbados is committed to the sustainability of the International Business sector and to its operation on a level that provides a secure jurisdiction from which and in which to conduct business.
This assurance comes from Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, while revealing that Barbados joined the ‘Inclusive Framework’ in July of this year and in so doing committed to the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) framework and its consistent implementation.
“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,” he stated.
“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,” he stated.
Inniss was at the time addressing the International Business Week 2017 Conference “Prospering in the Technological Era: Innovate, Integrate, Motivate”, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, recently.
He also disclosed that Government is currently preparing Barbados’ draft Multilateral Instrument (MLI) position for eventual signature before the end of this year.
This Instrument, he explained, is 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,” he indicated.
“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”.
The Minister further acknowledged that going forward, the strengthening of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terroism (AML/CFT) framework of the international business sector will also be a priority.
He said that Barbados’ Mutual Evaluation report will be considered at the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Plenary next month and updates and revisions to the national AML/CFT regime will be informed by the outcome of that exercise.
“I therefore urge you to embrace these challenging times, for they provide opportunities for the international business sector and for Barbados. You need to take a proactive stance and equip your businesses and staff with the necessary skills, technologies and knowledge to address the new changes. You too must put measures in place to strengthen your AML/CFT frameworks, for we Barbados is as strong as its weakest link,” Inniss expressed.