Barbados' ties to Latin America (LatAm) date back to the fourth century, when archaeologists believe the Amerindians made their way to the island from Venezuela and established themselves as Barbados' first indigenous people. Barbados has since evolved, and, from the standpoint of business, has established itself as the international business nerve centre and gateway to Latin America. The island has been a participant in the international business and financial services sector for almost half of a century, designed as a low-tax jurisdiction with a network of double taxation and investment protection treaties, complemented by a wide range of products, services, incentives, and concessions.
Venezuela was the first LatAm nation to engage with Barbados on tax treaty matters. The countries entered into both a double taxation agreement (DTA) and a bilateral investment treaty in the late 1990's. This was followed by Cuba. With the emergence of strong Latin American economic growth, Barbados has been intent on solidifying its position as the gateway to and from this important region of the Americas. In recent years, Barbados has concluded DTAs with Mexico and Panama. Other LatAm agreements are at various stages of negotiation, including those with Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica. The Barbados Government recently announced the prospect of entering into negotiations with Guatemala, and it is felt that this trend will continue as Barbados continues its quest for hemispheric integration, building upon its role in the globalisation of the world's economy.
It is important to note that Barbados has maintained its reputation as a well-regulated international business and financial services centre. It was the only English-speaking Caribbean country placed on the original Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's "White List" in 2009. This history has played an integral role in allowing Barbados' LatAm treaty objectives to come to fruition, as it has permitted (or will permit) the removal of Barbados' tax haven status in these jurisdictions. A case in point was Mexico several years ago, and
in anticipation of the Barbados-Colombia agreement being concluded, Colombia placed Barbados on a limited carve-out list of tax havens in October, 2013. A year later, Colombia removed Barbados from the black list all together.
It is anticipated this trend will continue with the likes of Brazil and other treaty partners, who deem jurisdictions offering tax rates below a certain threshold as tax havens.
The notion of a global network plays well into Barbados' strategy. Supplementary to its LatAm movement, is Barbados' tax treaty with Spain, signed in 2010. Complementing this, are treaties with China, Qatar and Singapore, as well as G-7 members Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Taking into consideration the ability to tap into other treaty networks like that of Panama considerably increases Barbados' flexibility and solidifies its position as the gateway to Latin America.
LatAm related DTAs:
● Brazil* ● Chile* ● Colombia*
● Costa Rica* ● Cuba ● Guatemala +
● Mexico ● Panama ● Spain
● Negotiation pending + under consideration
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