Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Region must be stronger to face the changing environment

It is not only the Caribbean that is being affected by many of the stipulations that are recently being enforced by many international bodies, but overall, changes are being made in the industry globally. However, in countries such as Barbados, the introduction of FATCA feels like a huge weight because of their size and the importance of international business to the country.

Speaking with Andrea M. Ewart, a customs and international trade attorney with her own firm, Develop Trade Law, who visited Barbados last week to conduct a technical worship addressing the Canadian Basin Initiative (CBI), she said, “FATCA is definitely a challenge for the Caribbean, but for once, this may probably be the only circumstance that this is not something that is affecting the Caribbean alone, as the Swiss banks have to comply etc. It suggests the requirements for this industry are being changed, [and are] not just a set of criteria to be imposed on the Caribbean. Going forward, it is about looking at the best practices and seeing how some other countries are dealing with these new stipulations.”

The new Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) will require many banks and other financial institutions worldwide to submit detailed information on their customers to the US tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Ewart suggested, “Sometimes there are agreements that are being drafted and countries are being asked to sign, but sometimes the region has a history of signing stuff that someone else has drafted and not looking at it closely and we don’t have quite the negotiating leverage that we think we might. [We must therefore do] a bit more background research before signing on to these things to see what are best practices and how the more developed economies handling their issues as we want to be held to the same standard.” (NB)

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