Sunday, April 21, 2024

Barbados, Panama sign tax pact


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Barbados has just signed a double taxation agreement with Panama and had a round of bilateral talks with a high-level Panamanian delegation.Both developments took place yesterday afternoon at Hilton Barbados shortly after Panamanian Vice-President Juan Carlos Varela flew into the island for a brief visit.Essentially, the tax agreement will stop businesses from being taxed twice in the two countries. But it also has implications for the movement of sports people and teachers between the two countries.The convention reflects Government’s efforts to boost the island as a major international business and financial services centre, according to Minister of International Business and International TransportGeorge Hutson.Hutson signed on behalf of the Barbados Government, while Deputy Prime Minister Freundel Stuart witnessed. Varela signed for the Panamanian government.Hutson said the agreement “is intended to enhance trading and investment opportunities between our private sector participants while also providing a new scope for the movement of professors, teachers, artisans and sports persons between our countries”.In the context of the current financial climate, the treaty sends “a clear message” of the two states’ endorsement of the international standard in respect of transparency and tax information exchange, he added.Hutson, Stuart and Varela noted Barbados’ long links with Panama, dating back to the time when hundreds of Bajans worked on the construction of the Panama Canal.The Panamanian vice-president noted that many of the Barbadians who had worked on the canal settled in Panama on a permanent basis and their descendants became integrated into Panamanian society, making a positive contribution to the development of the country.On the tax agreement, he said Panama had negotiated several in recent months as it sought to improve its image as an international business centre.Negotiations are being initiated with countries including Portugal, Singapore, Ireland and the Czech Republic, with a view to concluding double taxation agreement, he reported.He said that since it came to power in 2009, the Panamanian government headed by President Ricardo Martinelli had been working to remove the country from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) “grey list” of “tax havens”.The agenda for the bilateral talks included investment and financial services, cultural co-operation and shared ancestry, tourism, air services and export trade.Stuart said he expected the discussions to “extend the scope of collaboration and interaction between Panama and Barbados”. (TY)


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