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Barbados Signs Tax Treaty With The Netherlands

by Amanda Banks,, London

30 November 2006

The government of Barbados announced Tuesday that it has signed a double taxation avoidance agreement with the Netherlands, as the Caribbean jurisdiction attempts to expand its access to international investment.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who signed the treaty on behalf of Barbados, as much as 55% of the government's corporate tax take was attributed to the international business sector.

“It is an environment where there can be significant changes at short notice, not as a result of domestic action, but, indeed, as a result of global developments or the actions of other parliaments in other jurisdictions. It is in that context, therefore, that we feel that our security lies in having a multiplicity of such agreements," she observed.

She added that the DTA was a mechanism that could enhance cross border investment between the countries.

“The ability of the Netherlands to recognise the importance of having a tax framework that allows for low taxation on dividends and on withholding taxes is absolutely key towards enhancing the competitiveness of companies in today’s modern world, where cross border investment and global trade drive the global economy," she noted.

Another important aspect to the agreement, according to Hans Horbach, Dutch Ambassador to Barbados, is that it will help to prevent tax evasion.

“Very often it is mentioned as a treaty referring to the avoidance of double taxation, but I think it is twofold. I think another important aspect of the treaty is also to counter fiscal fraud, fiscal evasion and that is an interest we share in having this agreement, so as to avoid these things,” he stated.

The tax treaty with the Netherlands marks the second such agreement signed with an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member country in the post 2001 OECD Harmful Taxation initiative, following the signing of an agreement with the Republic of Austria earlier this year.

Barbados hopes that the latest double tax agreement will allow the country to access growing European markets though Holland's extensive treaty network.

These treaties add to Barbados’s growing network of DTAs, which includes agreements with the US (including the 2004 Protocol), the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Malta, Botswana, CARICOM, Venezuela, Cuba, China and Canada.

Barbados is also due to sign a tax agreement with Mexico.

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