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 an excellent 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. Since then, Barbados has become a signatory to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, as well as the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement. Barbados has also signed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Model 1 Inter-Governmental agreement (IGA) with the USA.
Barbados is the highest ranked Caribbean Country by the World Economic Forum in their Global Information Technology Report 2015. The report gauges how 143 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 ranked 39th globally while in Latin America and the Caribbean it ranked 2nd after Chile (38).
The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 ranks Barbados 4th in the Americas after Chile, Panama and Costa Rica and 55th 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.