Jamaica Commits to International Financial Services Centre


Kingston Jamaica (JIS) Jamaica remains committed to establishing an International Financial Services Centre, aimed at transforming the country into an offshore financial hub, similar to jurisdictions such as Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.

Chairman of the Jamaica International Financial Services Authority (JIFSA), Eric Crawford, informs that to this end, seven new Bills have already been drafted. “We searched and found the most advanced legislation, and picked from the elements that would be most appropriate,” he noted.

The Bills include: an international holding companies act; a trust act; two partnership bills; a limited liability companies act; a segregated account companies act; and a trust and corporate service providers bill.

He explained that two of the bills are ready for Cabinet submission, while the others are being reviewed for release by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.

Mr. Crawford was making his presentation at the two-day Jamaica Chamber of Commerce/JAMPRO Jamaica Logistics Hub Symposium at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on January 21.

Citing the success of Bermuda, which gets most of its earnings from being a tax haven for offshore corporate entities, Mr. Crawford noted that 24.2 per cent of that country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is derived from international financial services.

He pointed out that Bermuda is perhaps the premier centre for insurance, and reinsurance business in the world, beating out developed countries.

The World Bank in 2012, rated Bermuda third in the world for per capita gross national income.

“If the government could collect US$500 each from 750,000 companies, how far could that go in solving our fiscal problems? It is possible, I’m convinced, and many of us are convinced,” Mr. Crawford said.

The JIFSA was established for the promotion and development of Jamaica as a centre for International Financial Services. It is mandated to establish and maintain international linkages, aimed at positioning the country’s international financial services sector on the global landscape.

Other topics discussed at the symposium included: integrating Jamaica into global value and supply chains; building out the physical infrastructure; scenarios for the future of the logistics industry; the Jamaica logistics hub and the Jamaican growth agenda; and the impact of the Panama Canal project on business networks and commerce.

The Jamaica Logistics Hub is a central plank of the government’s economic growth strategy, aimed at driving investment and creating sustainable employment over the long term. Jamaica will seek to capitalize on its prime location for increased maritime and aviation traffic through the region, with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal in 2015.

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