By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- The government of Barbados is committed to the international business sector, said Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who promised that government would give the sector “all the support it needs”, so that when the world economy comes out of its present crisis, Barbados would be able to “take full advantage of all the opportunities that may then be available”.
Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart (C. Pitt/BGIS)
Stuart made the comments recently during a wide-ranging media conference, when he told reporters: “As it is doing in tourism, Barbados still has to go out in the market and fight and try to attract [international] business from other markets. We have treaties with places such as Bahrain, [and] United Arab Emirates, and we are doing some treaties in South America. The whole purpose is to broaden the network so that we can draw from as many sources as possible, but we are not about to walk away from the international business sector.”
He pointed out that Barbados had a vast network of double taxation treaties which facilitated people coming and doing business here.
“But, some countries are saying that double taxation agreements are not all that they want or in some cases, not what they want at all, what they prefer to have are tax information exchange agreements because they are more interested in the exchange of tax information,” he explained.
Stuart disclosed that he and the minister of industry, international business, commerce and small business development, Donville Inniss, recently met with the people involved in the rum industry to hear about some of their challenges. And, the prime minister gave the assurance that “we are doing our best to make sure that we protect that industry”.
During the recent financial statement and budgetary proposals, minister of finance and economic affairs, Christopher Sinckler, said government would meet with representatives of the local rum industry to examine a mechanism that would initiate a subsidy for rum producers to ensure they remain relevant and competitive.
This has become necessary because the local rum industry has, in recent times, come under significant pressure from US rum producers, who are now the beneficiaries of “cover-over subsidies”, which are eroding the competitiveness of Barbados’ rum and its market share.