Over the past four decades, Barbados has been consistent in the pursuit of its broad-based international business policy objectives, while maintaining the flexibility and dynamism required to embrace change. It has held as its foundation the importance of a small jurisdiction wedded to a wide tax treaty network and buttressed by the facilitation of financial services, legislation and products.
As a primarily low tax treaty jurisdiction, the modern development of Barbados’ financial services industry was set against a background of robust commercial internationalism. As a tax treaty jurisdiction, it is philosophically committed to integration and involvement within the international commercial community rather than being presented for mere use by that community, as may be the case in a strict zero-tax jurisdiction. Though fine, this distinction underscores a historical and cultural approach born out of Barbados’ idealized perception of the limits of small size. It is a policy approach which underscores continuity and consistency.
Treaty expansion and effective treaty re-negotiation has, therefore, provided an opportunity to conform to the new regulatory ethos, as well as the genuine ability to pursue creative and lawful multi-jurisdictional planning strategies. The access to carefully chosen but vibrant business environments, enabled by the various treaties, adds to the global reach of properly-planned international business structures in Barbados. No less relevant is the access now afforded to the increasing number of international corporations often engaged in joint ventures with Chinese, Mexican, Canadian, Venezuelan, American and other business counterparts in planning structures which make full use of the wide ambit of double tax treaty availability.
Borrowing from its proud financial services background, Barbados has ensured that its legislative infrastructure complements the need for good governance, which is integral to a jurisdiction of integrity. When in 1982 new corporate legislation based on the Canadian and Delaware models was introduced, Barbados sought to ensure that matters such as model directors’ duties and minority shareholder rights were given the imprimatur of statute. Moreover, all of the safeguards relevant to the dealing in securities by way of prospectus were integrated as important features of the new legislation.