BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Barbados government says it will be signing a bilateral investment treaty with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Now, negotiations began on this agreement late last year and so we have now approved the signature of that agreement. The delegation from the UAE will be coming to Barbados at the end of September and we will be signing that agreement as an indication of our continued immersion,” said Energy and Business Minister Lisa Cummins.
Speaking at the launch of Global Business Week 2023 to be held here from October 22-28, under the theme ”Adapt.Evolve.Execute – Be the Change”, Cummins said Cabinet approved the signature of a bilateral investment treaty with the UAE last week.
“So, by the time we (Invest Barbados) go to the World Investment Forum in the Middle East…later…in the year, you will have a brand new minted investment treaty that we are hoping…you will be in a position to operationalize as part of your outward mission,” she added.
Cummins said that Barbados has agreed to a three-year technical assistance program with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), adding “we don’t want to be on the back foot, we have to always be on the front foot.
“So, where we are largely compliant the technical assistance program now is designed to keep us as compliant. Where we are partially compliant, we are still aiming for compliance but we’ll settle for largely compliant, and we don’t have any areas of non-compliance at this point.
“So, it’s being proactive and ensuring that we get in front of what comes down the pipeline; this is in terms of regulatory management…..”
She said the Mia Mottley government is pushing ahead fairly aggressively with legislative reform, explaining that changes were recently made to the foreign currency permits’ legislation.
Cummins said the legislation is currently with the Chief Parliamentary Counsel for finalization, so it can be taken to Parliament, adding that further changes will be made to the economic substance legislation, and the Companies Act is also on the radar.
“Over many years, we have tinkered with the Companies Act, and regulation and legislation is also part of our competitive set. So, we are going to be…looking at…the best practices in the world, in particular, to see what comprehensive overhaul needs to be done to our companies’ legislation, and where Barbados needs to position itself through a legislative, regulatory and business facilitation reform process…,”
Cummins gave the assurance that the extensive discussions the international community has been engaging in continue to have Barbados’ attention and that the island has been navigating the rationalization of its approach to the global convergence tax rate.
“The expectation is that within a couple of weeks, you will be in a position to have a dedicated consultation on this particular issue with the international consultants,” she added.