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Nevis – the Queen of the Caribbees

Think Nevis, the beautiful, serene island and you immediately think 5-star luxurious Caribbean holidays, sunshine, beaches, beautiful scenery and utter relaxation. While all of these observations still stand, the time is right to add investment opportunities and business success to the list. Nevis, the Caribbean’s ‘richest jewel’, has superb infrastructure, a workforce that boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world and a growing service sector to more than satisfy any business need. Add to that Nevis became part of an independent nation and forms part of the sovereign democratic state of St. Christopher and Nevis.

It has the unique constitutional arrangement of being part of the Federal Parliament while having a separate parliament and its own Nevis Island Administration headed by a Premier. With a stable political and economic status, and it is not hard to see why this island should be your next investment port of call. Nevis actively welcomes foreign direct investment (FDI) and was awarded the title of Best Offshore Financial Services Destination in the Caribbean for 2012 and 2013 by the Global Banking & Finance Review.

Nevis ranked #2 in the top 10 islands in the Caribbean and Atlantic by Conde Nast Traveler – Readers Choice Awards.

This recognition is not least to do with the forward-thinking government that actively supports FDI by allowing foreign investors to hold up to 100% of an investment and by ensuring that there are no restrictions on the repatriation of profits. For the first half of 2013, polices such as these have helped this inspired location see the strongest economic growth in eastern Caribbean. Corporate tax rates have been reduced from 35% to 33% and there is full tax exemption for 15 years on all profits for qualifying companies.

Other pro-investment strategies include generous tax holidays and duty-free import of equipment and materials. Recognising that unnecessary bureaucracy hinders FDI, the Fiscal Incentives Act offers full exemption from import duties on parts, raw materials and production machinery. This is available for manufacturers who qualify under the Act, making it easy for companies to locate there. And locate they do.

A report issued by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) showed that Nevis (and the neighbouring island of St Kitts) charted an increase in FDI in 2011, outperforming a number of other Caribbean nations. In 2012, the results favoured St Kitts-Nevis once again, with FDI per capita of US$1,900; followed by Barbados with US$1,867; then Trinidad & Tobago with US$1,669. Things are still on the up, with continued FDI expected to boost the economy in the years to come, and neither the IMF nor the ECLAC anticipated that any economy in the Caribbean region would experience a decline last year. This coincides with the nations efforts to enhance the transparency of the financial sector, resulting in the island being taken off the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s grey list of tax havens.

Speaking at a St. Kitts & Nevis Association of Toronto’s independence event in 2013, Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas verified that St. Kitts & Nevis had attracted the highest rate of FDI in the entire eastern Caribbean area. 2014 is the year to discover what this prosperous island can offer you and your business with these sectors available for growth, International Financial Services, Tourism, Renewable energy, Agriculture & Agro-processing, and luckily, unlike other FDI destinations, setting up is straightforward and stress-free

The 2011 World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index rates St Kitts and Nevis in a strong 5th position out of 32 countries in the Latin American and Caribbean area. Nevis also enjoys the benefits that professional and amicable trading relations bring with it, allowing business to run ever so smoothly. The EU is CARIFORUM’s – a group of 15 Caribbean countries including Nevis – second largest trading partner, after the US, and in 2011, trade between the two regions came to over €8 billion.

As a primary international financial services jurisdiction, St Kitts and Nevis had approximately seven commercial banks, one offshore bank, one development bank and four credit unions in 2011. This well-developed financial services sector, in conjunction with the ongoing political stability, the minimal paperwork and the business benefits that an English speaking location brings with it, guarantees that this island is the ideal spot for your investment. It is little wonder then that you have the choice of Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia and Bank of Nevis for all your financial services.

Quality of life is another factor to consider and one in which Nevis comes out on top. As a former British colony (gaining independence in 1983) Nevis benefited from the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, disbursing 130 million euros in development co-operation aid in 2010. With a pollution index close to zero, it is on the verge of becoming the “greenest” island in the Caribbean, utilising wind farms, option of solar energy and on the verge of using geothermal energy. With flights from London and New York taking a manageable eight and four hours respectively, the positives just keep on coming.

Nevis offers an investor-friendly environment, with more than just tropical temperatures, tilting palm trees and white sand beaches to its name. Establishing a business in Nevis has never made more sense and the Nevis Investment Promotion Agency (NIPA) can provide that extra invaluable assistance and support to ensure that you select, meet and exceed your business goals.

This island is ripe for investment and opportunity is always knocking. Nevis – full of resources but still hungry for growth.

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