Looking to London
London has become a major focal point of Barbados’ efforts to boost its international business brand.
Francoise Hendy, Government’s special advisor on international business, financial services and investment, said although Invest Barbados closed its office there this year Barbados “continues to recognise the importance of London to the growth and development of its international business brand; particularly those aspects heavily reliant on the policy and practice of international tax diplomacy”.
The former director of international business, who is based at the Barbados High Commission in London, said her office was “executing a targeted plan of engagement with countries, international organisations and private sector actors whose activities impact on our vital economic interests”.
In an update in the latest International Business and Financial Services newsletter published by the Central Bank, Hendy also said London’s position as “the global hub of diplomatic and business activity” was also being leveraged, adding that the British capital city “represents ‘low hanging fruit’ with respect to Barbados’ revamped Non Domiciled High Net‐Worth Individual Programme”.
The special advisor also said it was important for the island to forge diplomatic and business links with African states.
“That the interest is business-driven is an important point to make as the usual instruments which are the ‘bread and butter’ of international tax diplomacy, namely agreements for the avoidance of double taxation and bilateral investment protection and promotion agreements are most useful when negotiated on the basis of a pre‐existing business model,” she noted.
“This is not to say that agreements which act as the catalyst for commerce are without value as together they represent the intangible infrastructure of Barbados’ international business brand and are important in distinguishing Barbados from zero tax, non‐treaty based financial and business centres; whose competitive advantage lies predominately in the absence of corporate taxation.”
Hendy also pointed out that “with the G20’s mandate of comprehensive international tax reform, international tax diplomacy is increasingly becoming preoccupied with the means of exchanging confidential taxpayer information either through bilateral agreements such as tax treaties, tax information exchange agreements and more recently the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in the Collection of Taxes”. (SC)