Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 12th 2015 Contents BG4 COVER STORY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MARCH 2015 • WEEK TWO
T&T s International
(TTIFC) was hailed by
the Z/Yen Group as
being well positioned
for upward growth dur-
ing the Caribbean
Investment and Finance
Forum held at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad
hotel on March 4 and 5. Labour issues affect-
ing the Caribbean, doing business with the
Port in Port-of-Spain, and sourcing finance
as well as the Government s diversification
thrust were all discussed at the forum.
Co-creator of the Global Financial Centres
Index, Mark Yeandle, gave a "thumbs up"
to the TTIFC. He described the organisation
as progressing well.
"I think there is a lot of positive things
that come out of it. I question whether just
being cost competitive is enough. I think
you need to specialise in certain sectors.
Overall, the model that has been adopted
here is very good for the future."
Asked what he meant by "good" he said:
"You must have everything in place, it s
a work in progress. I think it is doing well.
There is a strong will to make this place
succeed as a financial centre as well as the
Yeandle, who is a director at Z/Yen, joined
the group in 2002 and has a degree in busi-
ness management and an MBA from Cass
Business School where he specialised in eco-
nomics and corporate finance. Z/Yen is the
City of London s leading commercial think-
tank and was founded in 1994 to promote
societal advance through better finance and
technology. The company is headquartered
in London and has 25 full-time staff and
more than 300 associate experts, according
to its Web site http:// www.zyen.com/who-
Yeandle spoke on day two of the confer-
ence on the topic, Best Practices to Follow
When Setting up a Successful Financial Cen-
tre. He said investors dodging taxation is a
habit of the past, even though some people
still think of the offshore centres as "tax
"I don t think it is correct to say financial
institutions in the Caribbean are hiding
money. Many are being much more open
about money being held and the real ben-
eficiaries of accounts.
"I think most of the centres are now pro-
viding what I would call a "neutral tax envi-
ronment." Money is coming in and that s
already being taxed unless it is illegal money.
It is taxed when it is repatriated to other
countries. It would be silly to have tax on
three different levels, in three different
Preventing tax evasion is not necessarily
about tight regulation but about strict
"It s not about how much regulation, it
is about the quality of regulation. I think
that the quality of regulation is becoming
better. Good practices from international
countries are being adopted in the Caribbean.
It is about enforcement.
"You need to have a good regulatory envi-
ronment. It does not necessarily have to be
hundreds or thousands of pages. It just has
to be sufficient. The key thing is whether
it is important or not. There are very detailed
laws on anti-money laudering but, in some
countries, they are not enforced very strong-
ly. They will argue that there are the reg-
ulations in place but if those regulations
have not been enacted, then they are worth
Commenting on Caribbean regulation to
prevent tax evasion, he said the regulations
are not necessarily tougher, but "it is more
sympathetic towards being able to run a
business. We are living in a competitive
world. People would want to come to a
country where the ease of doing business
is fairly straightforward."
Asked whether the Financial Action Task
Force (FATF) regulation is being implemented
by the Caribbean nations enough, he said:
"I think some are better than others. They
are not all the same clearly. I think T&T
would live up to higher standards than some
of the others. I think the British Virgin
Islands and the Cayman Islands have fairly
good levels of regulation and regulatory
enforcement. Some of the others are perhaps
less strong," he said.
TTIFC CEO Varun Maharaj, centre, makes a point to co-creator of the Global Financial Centres Index, Mark Yeandle, left. Toronto Financial
Services Alliance's president and CEO Janet Ecker looks on. All three were part of panel discussion on the topic, International IFC
Roundtable: Key Steps to establishing an effective IFC, held at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel in Port-of-Spain on March 4-5.
IFC well positioned
for upward growth
In 2015, the manufacturing sector is being targeted
by the T&T Free Zones Company Ltd (TTFZ) to
diversify T&T s economy from oil and gas. This
was confirmed by chief executive, Debra Maloney.
To qualify for incentives within the TTFZ, the
project must not contain anything associated
with mainstream oil and gas. Maloney added that all of
its objectives are aligned to the diversification thrust.
"The manufacturing sector in T&T is still small and
developing. TCL, for instance has an enterprise where
they manufacture slings. What we hope to do is target
our local manufacturers. We have reasonably close ties
with the TTMA and what we plan to do is meet with
them and educate the manufacturers (about TTFZ).
Maloney added that the reason why manufacturers
are not using the TTFZ s incentives enough is because
they are not aware of them.
Some of the incentives are:
• Exemptions from duties and taxes
• Exemption from corporation tax as well as income
tax on profit and sales
• Exemptions from Green Fund levy, Business levy,
• Work permits are free
Maloney spoke on day two of the Caribbean Invest-
ment and Finance forum, on the topic: "The TTFZ ---
World of Opportunities, Brought to Life."
While the TTFZ has big goals, its staff is too small
and needs to expand to 10 members instead of three
which now exists.
"It is our hope that in the very near future, we would
be able to grow to 10 members of staff where we would
really be able to get individuals assigned to the region
and internationally to market T&T.
"We are doing fairly okay with what we have. If we
want to grow and make use of the Free Zones pro-
gramme, we need more staff."
The TTFZ is self-sufficient and does not benefit from
any subventions. The company obtains funds from
licences granted to the free zone enterprises.
Activities which qualify for full investment
activities (according to TTFZ's Web site)
• Development and operation of the Free Sones
• Manufacturing for export
• International trading in products
• Provision of services (eg data processing) for export
1. A free zone enterprise must be a company incor-
porated or registered in T&T and the free zone activity
must be the only activity carried out by the enterprise
2. Free zone projects should conform to the following
• The creation of jobs
• Development of skills
• Export of goods or services
• New investment
• Access to overseas markets
Debra Maloney, right, chief executive officer, T&T
Free Zones Company Ltd, meeting with an investor
during day one of the Caribbean Investment and
Finance forum which was held on March 4 and 5.
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