Barbados’ business environment is competitive and investor-friendly. Its prudent regulatory environment meets or exceeds international best practices. Barbados’ incentive legislation combined with its tax and investment protection treaties create an attractive Net Tax Rate and secure investment vehicle structures. Barbados has earned a very good reputation for its levels of security and integrity and enjoys positive international recognition for its regulatory systems, anti-money laundering, tax information exchange and other requirements.
Barbados is an open economy and competes globally in a number of industries. The most prominent of these are: Construction, Financial Services, ICT/Communications, Light Manufacturing, Professional/Consultancy Services, Real Estate and Tourism.
The business environment is competitive and investor friendly as evidenced by the following:
- A legal system based on English common law
- An independent judiciary ensuring fair and impartial dispute resolution
- Investment laws that are clear, transparent and modern, providing for easy incorporation and corporate maintenance
- No restrictions on foreign ownership of business enterprises
- An expanding network of Double Taxation Agreements and Bilateral Investment Treaties
- A range of special incentive entities for conducting international business
- An International Business Customer Charter detailing the commitments of regulatory agencies to provide swift, efficient and professional service to the international business sector
- Prudent regulatory environment that meets or exceeds international best practices
- Represented in main international financial organisations including the Offshore Group of Banking Supervisors, the International Association of Insurance Supervisors and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions
- Member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and regarded by anti-money laundering agencies as a clean and well-regulated domicile
On April 2nd 2009 the OECD Global Forum published a list of countries categorized by reference to their compliance with the Forum’s international tax standard of exchange of tax information. Barbados is prominently featured on the list of countries that have satisfied assessors of having substantially implemented the requirements of the internationally agreed tax standard. The only other countries in the Americas that made the list are Argentina, Canada, Mexico and USA/USVI.
Barbados is the highest ranked Caribbean Country by the World Economic Forum in their Global Information Technology Report 2013. The report gauges how 144 economies around the world are prepared to use ICT effectively, determined on three dimensions: the general business, regulatory and infrastructure environment for ICT; the readiness of individuals, businesses and governments to use and benefit from ICT; and actual use of the latest information and communications technologies. Data is derived from publicly available sources and an executive opinion survey conducted by leading research institutes and business organisations within the countries under analysis. In total, 27 hard data indicators, including utility patents, mobile phone use and bandwidth available, are combined with 41 survey indicators to give the overall network readiness index score. Barbados is ranked 39th globally while in Latin America and the Caribbean it is ranked fifth after USA, Canada, Chile and Puerto Rico, Panama (46), Uruguay (52), Costa Rica (53), Brazil (60) and Mexico (63).
The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 ranks Barbados 5th in the Americas after USA, Canada, Chile and Puerto Rico and 42rd in the world. The ranking is based on a Global Competitiveness Index constructed from 12 pillars of competitiveness, providing a comprehensive picture of the competitiveness landscape in countries around the world at all stages of development. The pillars include: Institutions, Infrastructure, Macroeconomic Stability, Health and Primary Education, Higher Education and Training, Goods Market Efficiency, Labour Market Efficiency, Financial Market Sophistication, Technological Readiness, Market Size, Business Sophistication and Innovation.