Moving Ahead in Belize

4 November 2019
After enjoying a massive boost in 2018, the tourism industry in Belize is still recording growth. Due in part to an increase in international flights, the well-known and hard-working Belize Tourism Board have also contributed to a steady rise in both stay-over and cruise tourism. Unemployment is in decline, with 2019 seeing it as low as 7.6%, the lowest level recorded in Belize. Along with these factors, a reduction of government debt points towards a steady economic recovery for Belize. A small country with a big name in business, Belize has a great reputation for its stability and security. As Central America’s first offshore jurisdiction and with a government who are strongly committed to protecting financial privacy, this young country already has almost 30 years’ experience in creating an inviting and nurturing environment for corporate domicile, and has been described as one of the most corporate-friendly environments in the world. Belize’s chief trading partners include the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Mexico, Curaçao, Panama and is also a partner of Caricom (Caribbean Community and Common Market).

In October this year The Belizean Government and The Government of the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement on economic cooperation. The agreement is structured as such to establish a stronger relationship between the two countries in key areas; investment; transportation; trade; energy and renewable energy; infrastructure and construction; tourism and finally agriculture.

The establishment of a Joint Economic commission will include private sector representatives, co-chaired by Belizean Minister of Economic Development, Hon. Erwin Contreas and Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, The UAE’s Minister of the Economy. The pair met in Dubai on the 9th October 2019 to sign the agreement on behalf of their respective governments.

Another victory for Belize this year saw its removal from the Dutch list of low-tax jurisdictions. Due for publication in December the list is composed of territories with no corporation tax, or corporation tax lower than 9%. A misunderstanding of the taxes in both Belize and Saudi Arabia led to proposed changes that will remove the two countries from the list. Although the country remains on the EU’s low-tax blacklist, Belize is seen to be coping at a time when international regulations regarding tax-evasion are under the spotlight.

Belize has been a popular home for offshore accounts since enacting the Companies Act in 1990, creating the initial legal structure for the offshore sector. In 2000, this act was further strengthened by extra layers of flexibility and confidentiality making it one of the top destinations for offshore business formation. Multiple free zones across the region offering reductions in tax and operating costs contribute greatly towards Belize’s global profile.

Minimum legal set up requirements and costs, a low-risk economy and maximum privacy make it easy to understand why so many choose Belize as the home for their new business.
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