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The Barbados government is endeavouring to substantially improve the island's business environment to attract and retain investment, the territory's Minister for International Business, George Hutson, has told business leaders.
Speaking at the launch of International Business week, Hutson said: "The Ministry is cognisant of the need to address such issues in order to attract and retain business, and therefore, will continue to intensify its efforts to engage the relevant ministries and departments of government, service providers and other relevant stakeholders with a view to implementing initiatives to facilitate business activities in Barbados throughout their life cycle."
He told attendees that the government had recently formed a task force to draft a new strategic plan for the island's financial services industry - to run from 2013 to 2017, to ensure that the territory can rebound strongly, and exploit new opportunities that arise when global economic conditions improve.
He highlighted the government's recent efforts to expand the territory's network of double tax agreements, which simplify cross-border trade and investment, and eliminate the risk of income received from these economic engagements being taxed twice. The Minister said to date a total of 31 agreements had been signed, and the nation is close to signing additional pacts with Bahrain, Singapore, San Marino, the Slovak Republic and Qatar.
Furthermore, as part of efforts to enhance the territory's standing as a reputable international financial centre, Hutson highlighted that the territory is close to receiving recognition for having introduced internationally-agreed standards in the area of tax information exchange. Hutson confirmed that a final Phase 2 review under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Peer Review process would begin in early 2013. He said the government is allocating significant manpower to ensure that this process confirms that the territory exchanges tax information with other nations effectively in practice.
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