Barbados has an operational and regulatory framework that efficiently and effectively facilitates the needs of both local and foreign investors and fosters reputable business of substance in financial services, ICT, renewable energy, to name a few. Barbados continues to participate in the global discussion on automatic exchange of information and is committed to ensuring that its laws and practices are fully compliant with new international standards designed to combat tax evasion and money laundering.
Barbados’ reputation as having a well regulated and transparent regulatory environment with a long history of exchange of information is widely known. Its expanding and diverse network of Double Taxation Agreements containing up-to-date OECD established exchange of information provisions is in part responsible for the international business sector’s success as a small IFC.
Coupled with a robust regulatory framework , adherence to international standards of transparency and information exchange, Barbados’ low-tax regime has been used by the discerning international investor to properly structure investments.
New Global Forum peer reviews highlight ever-increasing compliance with tax transparency standards
14//03/2016 – The world’s leading forum on tax transparency published 10 new peer review reports today, pointing to ever-increasing compliance with the internationally-recognised standards to curb tax evasion through the exchange of information. The new reporting from the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes demonstrates growing worldwide compliance with the international standard for exchange of information on request and deep engagement to push forward transparency objectives of the group, which brings together 132 countries and jurisdictions on an equal footing to tackle offshore tax evasion. The Global Forum published Phase 1 reports on Croatia and Tunisia, which assessed their legal and regulatory frameworks for transparency and exchange of information on request. These countries were assessed to have legal frameworks in place to enable them to move to Phase 2 of the review process, which will assess exchange of information practices. Eight new Phase 2 reviews of exchange of information practices – for Botswana, El Salvador, Georgia, Kenya, Mauritania, Nigeria, Niue and Saudi Arabia – were also published by the Global Forum. It allocated ratings for compliance with the individual elements of the international standard, as well as an overall rating for each jurisdiction which is “Largely Compliant.” The Global Forum has now completed 225 peer reviews and assigned compliance ratings to 94 jurisdictions that have undergone Phase 2 reviews. The first round of reviews for all member jurisdictions will be completed by the end of 2016, as required under a 2009 mandate that governs the peer review process. In a demonstration of the increasing relevance of its work and its reach, three new members joined the Global Forum in 2016 – Guyana, Chad and Maldives. For further information, journalists should contact Monica Bhatia, Head of the Global Forum Secretariat (+33 1 6 10 14 04 22) or the OECD Media Office (+33 1 4524 9700). Compliments OECD.org
EU, Canada Revise Investment Protections in Trade Deal
The EU and Canada announced on Monday that they have revised the investment protection terms in their bilateral trade pact, with the new version now including an investment court system that Brussels is hoping to pursue in other trade agreements – including with the US. “We have responded to Canadians, EU citizens, and businesses with a fairer, more transparent system,” said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland in a joint statement. The changes were made during the “legal scrub” of the trade deal, which is known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The original negotiations for the pact were completed in 2014, following over six years of talks. “With the changes we have agreed we bring CETA fully in line with our new approach on investment protection in trade agreements. In particular, we demonstrate our determination to protect governments’ right to regulate, and to ensure that investment disputes will be adjudicated in full accordance with the rule of law,” said the European Commission’s First Vice President, Frans Timmermans. Eyes on international investment court Under the terms of the revised investment chapter, the EU and Canada will now put in place a 15-member, permanent tribunal to adjudicate investment-related disputes, with five EU nationals, five Canadian nationals, and five nationals of third countries. The court’s members will be appointed by country governments, with three people judging a given case – one from Canada, one from the EU, and one from elsewhere. There will also be an appellate mechanism – rather than just potential plans to create one, as had been originally agreed – from the start of the deal’s entry into force. The appellate tribunal will be able to make changes to the earlier tribunal’s award on the grounds of errors or application in law; “manifest errors” regarding facts; and also Article 52(1) of the ICSID convention, which involves issues on how the tribunal was constituted, whether it exceeded its powers or if an individual member showed corruption, or if the reasons for the award were not stated or procedures were not upheld. ICSID refers to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, an independent institution set up under the World Bank Group to provide arbitration and conciliation in complaints between governments and investors. Notably, Canada has agreed that it shares the EU’s goal of setting up an international version of this court system, one that will eventually replace the one in CETA if agreed. “The Parties shall pursue with other trading partners the establishment of a multilateral investment tribunal and appellate mechanism for the resolution of investment disputes. Upon establishment of such a multilateral mechanism, the CETA Joint Committee shall adopt a decision providing that investment disputes under this Section will be decided pursuant to the multilateral mechanism and make appropriate transitional arrangements,” says Article 8.29 of the trade pact. Right to regulate Another revision touted by the two sides involves the terms used to describe each party’s right to regulate, which officials say provides stronger guarantees than what was in the original version. “For the purpose of this Chapter, the Parties reaffirm their right to regulate within their territories to achieve legitimate policy objectives, such as the protection of public health, safety, the environment or public morals, social or consumer protection or the promotion and protection of cultural diversity,” the agreement reads under Article 8.9. The agreement continues on to say that “the mere fact that a Party regulates, including through a modification to its laws” such that it has adverse implications for either an investor or their expectations does not mean that the party has violated its commitments under the CETA investment chapter. The document also outlines terms regarding whether a country’s decision to maintain, renew, or end a subsidy would constitute a breach. Whether such terms will indeed be viewed by sceptics as providing the necessary assurances that governments will have the right to continue adopting domestic policies geared toward the public interest remains to be seen. Some advocacy groups have already come out against the changes, warning that they are insufficient to address the past problems seen under investor-state dispute settlement. “The Investment Court System is nothing but private arbitration under another name, keeping VIP rights for foreign investors fully alive and allowing them to sideline the legal system in Europe,” said Natacha Cingotti, trade campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, in a statement. Other quarters have, however, expressed interest in the result, noting that it marks an effort to improve. “Congrats EU & Canada negotiators on concluding CETA legal review bringing on board the new investment protection system EP called for,” said European Parliament President Martin Schulz via social media site Twitter. “CETA shows EU’s capacity to safeguard and set standards, open up markets to keep EU competitive in a world of trading giants.” The European Parliament will have to sign off on the final deal, once it is tabled. Coming up With the legal scrub now behind them, the difficult hurdles of ratification still remain. The two sides say that they aim to see the deal signed this year and in force in 2017. The EU is Canada’s second largest trading partner, while the North American country is the EU’s twelfth largest trading partner. According to the European Commission, bilateral goods trade reached €59.1 billion in 2014, with services trade at €27.2 billion. Regarding investment, Canadian investors in 2013 had nearly €117 billion in direct investment stocks, while European investors had over €225 billion in Canada. Meanwhile, the EU is continuing to push for this type of court system in other trade deals it is negotiating. Having already worked it into its recently-concluded pact with Vietnam, Brussels is pushing for such a system to be incorporated into the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States – a task that is widely expected to be difficult, given the scepticism expressed by top US trade officials over the need for this level of changes. (For more on TTIP, see related story, this edition) ICTSD reporting. (March 3, 2016, Compliments Bridges Weekly)
Talking Tax in Shanghai
In Shanghai, Wolfgang Schäuble is urging his fellow G20 countries to put new rules to tackle tax avoidance into law. Back home, business leaders worry that German companies could be left exposed by the new rules if they are introduced unilaterally or go too far. The finance ministers of the largest industrialized countries and emerging economies, the G20, along with those countries’ central bankers have gathered in the Chinese city of Shanghai. And while the Chinese economy, the global economic doldrums and the role of central banks in stimulating economies were the main issues up for discussion on Friday, taxation, and specifically efforts to shut down tax avoidance by big corporations, is also high on their agenda during the two-day meeting. When it comes to tackling the way multinationals are able to dodge paying tax, Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, is likely to be admonishing his counterparts with one of his mottos: “It’s the implementation, stupid.” The G20 nations adopted international rules last year which would allow them to jointly take action against the practices of shifting profits and tax dumping by international corporations – the so-called BEPS project, which stands for “base erosion and profit shifting.” The project, which aims at closing various tax loopholes and increasing transparency, was initiated by Mr. Schäuble and his British counterpart, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Mr. Schäuble himself has been ambitious when it comes to implementation, and he hopes to present the national BEPS implementation law to the German cabinet as soon as this May. “Country-by-country reporting will be the most important point,” said officials with his ministry. This rule is expected to provide transparency: International corporations must report their sales figures, number of employees and taxes paid in individual countries to the tax authorities in the country where they have their headquarters. In Germany, the Federal Central Tax Office forwards these figures to the authorities in all countries where the corporation is active, provided they also implement the BEPS rules. It is precisely this transparency that is encountering opposition, however. “The international harmonization of corporate tax law that has been introduced must be achieved with a sense of proportion,” said Wolfgang Steiger, general secretary of the Economic Council, a business organization with close ties to Mr. Schäuble’s conservative Christian Democrats. “Under no circumstances may the competitiveness of German companies be compromised,” Mr. Steiger said. The Federal of German Industry, the BDI, has also voiced concerns. It fears that in emerging markets like India and China, the information could be use to demand a larger slice of the corporation’s tax pie. The German treasury will likely get the short end of the stick, BDI tax expert Berthold Welling, argues. The Economic Council has drafted a 35-page position paper, which Handelsblatt has obtained. It contains recommendations on the BEPS implementation, both as pertains to German and European law. The heads of the tax departments of many corporations, from Deutsche Bank to Daimler to Siemens, contributed to the document. It initially states that business leaders expressly welcome the BEPS action plan. However, it continues, a “non-reflective or one-sided application of the results to German tax law is not desirable.” The Economic Council task force wants the G20 measures to be viewed as an “uppermost limit.” “If it were exceeded, the consequence would be double taxation, which is harmful to the economy,” the document reads. Corporate representatives are especially alarmed, because the European Commission is developing plans to issue stronger rules against tax dumping than the BEPS ones and to publish the results of the country-by-country reporting. Germany will not agree to that, said officials in Mr. Schäuble’s ministry, who added: “We are interested in the one-to-one implementation of BEPS.” According to the German finance ministry, international corporate tax rules provide corporations with more legal certainty than a world in which every country decides what it wants. BEPS also commits the emerging economies to these rules, Mr. Schäuble’s officials stressed, noting that this is a benefit in itself. Whether this affects German tax revenues is difficult to assess, they added. Credit: Handelsblatt Compliments: offshorenewsflash
Barbados 7th Least Complex Country for Managing Corporate Compliance
Barbados has been ranked as the 7th least complex country in the world as it relates to regulation and compliance in conducting business on the island. This is according to the TMF Group’s Benchmark Complexity Index 2015. Now in its 3rd year, the index ranks 95 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, and is based on the relative ease in doing business from a regulatory and compliance perspective. Barbados’ position improved significantly over the last year when it was ranked as the 22nd least complex country in the world. Its 2015 ranking is also impressive when compared to countries within the Americas, ranking among the top three. The report indicated that the two main factors driving complexity and regulation are the demand for “more comprehensive information on corporate structures and activities of companies” and the increased sharing of information between governments to combat money laundering and other evasive tax practices. The uncertain environment coupled with the increasing complexity continues to impact negatively on doing business across countries. Therefore, the index is a useful indicator when companies, including multinationals, are considering expansion, as it can be used to determine the countries to consider carefully due to their high ranking as being complicated jurisdictions for doing business. The top five most complicated jurisdictions for doing business were Argentina, Indonesia, Colombia, UAE and China, while the top five least complicated jurisdictions were Ireland, BVI, Latvia, Trinidad & Tobago and New Zealand. Half of the ten most complex jurisdictions are reported to be in the Americas. Compliments Invest Barbados
Bilateral Investment Treaties
Barbados' Bilateral Investment Treaties provide opportunities for companies and individuals seeking comparative advantages in the global marketplace. These treaties encourage trade and investment activities, provide incentives for businesses and promote business contracts.
For in-depth details about registering your company in Barbados or forms not listed here, please visitBarbados' Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office online
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