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Hutson: Let them come

Melanie Jones and Minister Hutson spoke today at the launch of International Business Week.

Government is going to Parliament as early as tomorrow with new legislation to help Barbados’ important international business and financial services sector.

But while welcoming the Private Trust Company’s Bill, which will focus on attracting a whole new set of businesses to the island, President of the Barbados International Business Association, Melanie Jones, said business facilitation in its various forms remained the primary impediment to the group she represented.

Both she and Minister of International Business George Hutson agreed, however, that the Latin American market, including Argentina, Columbia, Brazil, and Chile were markets Barbados could benefit from as it continued to develop international business.

They were speaking this morning when International Business Week 2012 was launched at Hilton Barbados.

“My ministry, with the assistance of our strategic partners, has already made strides to create new products and services which will benefit the sector and satisfy the needs of investors in the market,” Hutson said.

“Two of these include legislation to make provision for private trust companies and foundations and these should be soon on the statute books.

“In fact, only as week ago Cabinet approved the final PTC bill for laying in Parliament tomorrow and I fully expect this bill to be debated during International Business Week. This is most appropriate as our Prime Minister is on record of having promised a full debate on the international business sector,” he added.

The minister said markets in the Latin American region were among the “new markets” which were suggested as places to target, “especially those countries with which Barbados already has treaties and have not placed us on their tax haven lists”.

“Another jurisdiction suggested was China were investors could use Barbados as a conduit for positioning their investments into this market,” he stated.

Jones said while the sector would welcome the new legislation and other efforts, business facilitation remained “an enormous challenge”.

“I think everything that we consider as a possible enhancement to the international business sector, which in turn will be an enhancement to economic prosperity in Barbados, has to be looked at against the backdrop of business facilitation,” she said.

“So we are working all the time, BIBA in collaboration with Mr. Hutson’s ministry and other arms of the Government to try and improve business facilitation, but it remains an enormous challenge, a meaty challenge for us to grapple with and we absolutely have the appetite for it, but there is still a ways to go.” (SC)

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