Saint Kitts and Nevis

Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
July 5, 2016

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Executive SummaryShare    

The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis (St. Kitts and Nevis) remains one of the fastest growing economies in the Eastern Caribbean with an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD $637.13 million. Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. According to the ECCB, Saint Kitts and Nevis is projected to grow by 4.65% in 2016 and its outlook remains stable. Income from the citizenship by investment program, construction sector, manufacturing and tourism is expected to keep the economy buoyant during the year. Saint Kitts and Nevis is ranked 124th in the World Bank’s Doing Business report for 2016; falling two places from its 2015 ranking.

  • The Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis strongly encourages foreign direct investment. Saint Kitts and Nevis’ foreign direct investment policy is to attract Foreign Direct Investment into the priority sectors as identified under the National Diversification Strategy. These include financial services, tourism, real estate, agriculture, information technology, education services and limited light manufacturing.
  • The government instituted a number of investment incentives for businesses considering the possibility of locating in Saint Kitts or Nevis, encouraging both domestic and foreign private investment.
  • Companies registered in Saint Kitts and Nevis have the right to repatriate all capital, royalties, dividends and profits free of all government taxes or any other charges on foreign exchange transactions. There are no exchange controls in Nevis and the invoicing of foreign trade transactions may be made in any currency.
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis uses eminent domain laws that allow the government to expropriate private property for the betterment of the public. Currently the United States Embassy in Bridgetown is aware of one outstanding case involving the seizure of private land by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis. The previous government agreed to pay the U.S. citizen claimant in installments, and completed the first two installments. The current government defaulted on one installment, and despite a court in St. Kitts and Nevis ordering the government to complete the 2015 installment, the government has yet to do so. The government claims that another individual made a claim on the property, and the government will investigate the other claim before completing the installment to the U.S. citizen owner. For this reason, the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown continues to recommend caution when investing in real estate or conducting business in Saint Kitts and Nevis.
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis uses transparent policies and effective laws to foster competition and establish clear rules for foreign and domestic investors in the areas of tax, labor, environment, health, and safety. Saint Kitts and Nevis’ monetary and exchange rate policies are determined by the ECCB. The ECCB regulates domestic banks in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Exchange controls restrictions on capital and non-trade current transactions have been suspended under the Exchange Control Act.

Table 1

Measure

Year

Index or Rank

Website Address

TI Corruption Perceptions index

2014

Not ranked

transparency.org/cpi2014/results

World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business”

2015

124 of 189

doingbusiness.org/rankings

Global Innovation Index

2015

Not ranked

globalinnovationindex.org/content/page/data-analysis

U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)

2015

USD $5 million

BEA/Host government

World Bank GNI per capita

2014

USD $14, 920

data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD

 

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign InvestmentShare    

Attitude toward Foreign Direct Investment

The Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis strongly encourages foreign direct investment, particularly in industries that create jobs, earn foreign currency, and have a positive impact on its citizens. Saint Kitts and Nevis is home to the ECCB, the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) and the Eastern Caribbean Regulatory Commission (ECRC).

The government instituted a number of investment incentives for businesses considering the possibility of locating in Saint Kitts and Nevis, encouraging both domestic and foreign private investment. Government policies provide liberal tax holidays, duty-free import of equipment and materials, and subsidies for training provided to local personnel. Foreign investors may also hold up to 100% of an investment.

Deregulations in the telecommunications industry facilitated market access to new competitors, though historically the industry was monopolized. There are currently three service providers: Flow (formerly Cable and Wireless), Digicel, and Cable Communications (The Cable). Caribbean Cable Communications (Nevis) Limited, which only operates in Nevis, was acquired by Digicel in 2013.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

In 2014 the OECS, of which Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member, conducted an investment policy review through the World Trade Organization. This report, which speaks to the general investment climate in Saint Kitts and Nevis, can be found at: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp399_e.htm.

Laws/Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Saint Kitts and Nevis’ foreign direct investment policy is to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into the priority sectors as identified under the National Diversification Strategy. These include financial services, tourism, real estate, agriculture, information technology, education services and limited light manufacturing. However, investment opportunities also exist in renewable energy and other services. The main laws concerning foreign investment include the Fiscal Incentive Act, the Tourism Incentive Act, the Hotel Aids Act and the Companies Act.

While officially all sectors are open to attracting FDI, certain sectors, such as taxi and tour operators and tour guides, are sometimes reserved for local investors. Additionally, potential investors are cautioned that Saint Kitts and Nevis’ actual level of openness to foreign investment is limited by local expropriation practices, which could put investments at risk.

Business Registration

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016, Saint Kitts and Nevis is ranked 90th in starting a business in the jurisdiction. This takes seven procedures and approximately 19 days to complete. An attorney-at-law is necessary to prepare the incorporation documents. Typically, a notary will file the prepared documents with Intellectual Property Office on behalf of the company. There are plans to develop a Single Window facility to expedite the process given the multiple agencies that are currently involved in the process.

Established in 2007, the Saint Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA) facilitates domestic and foreign direct investment into priority sectors, and advises the government on the formation and implementation of policies and programs to attract investment within Saint Kitts and Nevis. SKIPA provides crucial business support services and market intelligence to all investors. All investment proposals applying for government incentives are reviewed by the Saint Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA) to ensure that the project is consistent with the national interests and provides economic benefits to the country.

Under the framework of the Small Business Development Act (2009), a small business is defined as having no more than 25 employees. While foreign owned micro, small and medium sized enterprises do not fall under the rubric of this act, business services for such enterprises are provided through SKIPA. However, SKIPA has a website that is useful to navigate the laws, rules, procedures and registration requirements for foreign investors. This can be found at: www.investstkitts.kn.

Industrial Promotion

SKIPA is the investment promotion arm of the government with identified key industries to attract investment into the country.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

There are no limits on foreign control in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Foreign investors may hold up to 100% of an investment. Local enterprises generally welcome joint ventures with foreign investors in order to access technology, expertise, markets, and capital. There is no general limit on the amount of foreign ownership or control in the establishment of a business.

With one exception, foreign investment in Saint Kitts and Nevis is not subject to any restrictions, and foreign investors receive national treatment. The only restriction is the requirement to obtain an Alien Landholders License for foreign investors seeking to purchase property for residential or commercial purposes.

Privatization Program

The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis does not currently have a targeted program of privatization.

Screening of FDI

SKIPA has the authority to offer guidance and direction to new and established investors who are interested in pursuing investment opportunities in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The process is transparent and is contingent on the size of capital investment and the economic impact that it will have on the country.

To establish a business as a foreign investor, the applicant must:

  • Incorporate the company with Saint Kitts Financial Services Regulatory Commission
  • Apply for a Business & Occupations License (Facilitated by SKIPA)
  • Register with Inland Revenue as a tax payer
  • Register with the Saint Christopher Social Security Board as an employer
  • Apply for an Alien Landholding License (foreigners owning shares in an ordinary company or foreigners serving as directors of an ordinary company)
  • Submit Proposals for Review (SKIPA)
  • Apply for Incentives (if Government assistance is required)
  • Apply for Work Permits

Citizenship through Investment

Under the Citizenship by Investment Program, foreign individuals can obtain citizenship in accordance with subsection (5) of Section 3 of the Citizenship Act of 1984, which grants the right of citizenship (without voting rights) by investment. Applicants through the program are required to go through a due diligence process before citizenship can be granted. The minimum that would entitle an investor to qualify is USD $400,000 in real estate or a USD $250,000 contribution to the Sugar Investment Diversification Foundation. Applicants must also provide a full medical certificate, and evidence of the source of funds.

Competition Law

Chapter 8 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas provides the competition policy applicable to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) States. Member States are required to establish and maintain a national competition authority for facilitating the implementation of the rules of competition. At the CARICOM level, a regional Competition Commission is established to apply the rules of competition in respect of anti-competitive cross-border business conduct. The CARICOM competition policy addresses anti-competitive business conduct, such as agreements between enterprises, decisions by associations of enterprises, and concerted practices by enterprises that have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the Community; and actions by which an enterprise abuses its dominant position within the Community. No legislation is yet in operation to regulate competition in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The OECS agreed to establish a regional competition body to handle competition matters within its single market. The draft OECS bill was submitted to the Ministry of Legal Affairs for review.

2. Conversion and Transfer PoliciesShare    

Foreign Exchange

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member of the ECCU and the ECCB. The currency of exchange is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD). As a member of the OECS, the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis has a foreign exchange system that is fully liberalized. The Eastern Caribbean Dollar has been pegged to the United States dollar at a rate of XCD $2.70: USD $1.00 since 1976. As a result, the Eastern Caribbean Dollar does not fluctuate; creating stable currency environment for trade and investment in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Remittance Policies

There are no exchange controls in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Companies registered in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis have the right to repatriate all capital, royalties, dividends and profits free of all government taxes or any other charges on foreign exchange transactions. There are no exchange controls in Nevis and the invoicing of foreign trade transactions may be made in any currency. Importers are not required to make prior deposits in local funds and export proceeds do not have to be surrendered to government authorities or to authorized banks. Saint Kitts and Nevis is also a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). Saint Kitts and Nevis signed onto an inter-governmental agreement with the United States to facilitate compliance with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

3. Expropriation and CompensationShare    

Saint Kitts and Nevis uses eminent domain laws that allow the government to expropriate private property for the betterment of the public; the government is required to compensate owners. There are also laws that permit the acquisition of private business, and the government claims such laws are constitutional. The concept of eminent domain and the expropriation of private property is typically governed by laws that require governments to adequately compensate owners of the expropriated property at the time of its expropriation or soon thereafter. In some cases, the procedure for compensation of owners favors the government valuation at the expense of the owner.

Currently the United States Embassy in Bridgetown is aware of one outstanding case involving the seizure of private land by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis. The previous government agreed to pay the U.S. citizen claimant in installments, and completed the first two installments. The current government defaulted on one installment, and despite a court in St. Kitts and Nevis ordering the government to complete the 2015 installment, the government has yet to do so. The government claims that another individual made a claim on the property, and the government will investigate the other claim before completing the installment to the U.S. citizen owner. However, the Government remains committed to a final resolution of this case. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown continues to recommend caution when conducting business in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

4. Dispute SettlementShare    

Legal System, Specialized Courts, Judicial Independence, Judgments of Foreign Courts

Saint Kitts and Nevis bases its legal system on the British common law system. The Constitution guarantees constitutional independence of the judiciary. The judicial system consists of lower courts, called Magistrates’ Courts, as well as a Family Court. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Saint Kitts and Nevis) Act, establishes the Supreme Court of Judicature, which consists of the High Court and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. The High Court hears criminal and civil matters and makes determinations on the interpretation of the Constitution. Appeals are made in the first instance to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, an itinerant court that hears appeals from all Eastern Caribbean States. Final appeal is to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is the regional judicial tribunal, established in 2001 by the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice. The CCJ has original jurisdiction to interpret and apply the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. In its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ considers and determines appeals from Member States of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), which are parties to the Agreement Establishing the CCJ. Saint Kitts and Nevis is subject to the original jurisdiction of the CCJ.

The United States and Saint Kitts and Nevis are both parties to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO Dispute Settlement Panel and Appellate Body resolve disputes over WTO agreements, while courts of appropriate jurisdiction in both countries resolve private disputes.

Bankruptcy

The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis has a bankruptcy framework that allows for certain actions by both the debtor and the creditor. The World Bank’s Doing Business Report addressed some limitations in filing for bankruptcy in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis is ranked at 189th in resolving insolvency.

Investment Disputes

The Embassy is currently not aware of any investment disputes involving Saint Kitts and Nevis.

International Arbitration

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is the domestic arbitration body within the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis and the local courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards. The Arbitration Act 1950 applies in St. Kitts and Nevis by virtue of Cap 3:01. This Act provides for the enforcement of foreign awards.

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis is a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States, however it is not a member of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards; also known as the New York Arbitration Convention.

Duration of Dispute Resolution – Local Courts

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016, dispute resolution generally took 578 days, however this may vary. The slow court system and bureaucracy are widely seen as main hindrances to timely resolutions to commercial disputes. In practice most of the litigation before the court is sent to mediation for the parties to try to settle the matter before trial. Usually mediation is held about 2 – 3 months after the claim is filed. Saint Kitts and Nevis is ranked at 42nd in enforcing contracts.

5. Performance Requirements and Investment IncentivesShare    

WTO/TRIMS

While there are no formal performance requirements, government officials encourage investments they believe will create jobs and increase exports and foreign exchange earnings. There are no requirements for participation either by nationals or by the government in foreign investment projects.

There is no requirement that enterprises must purchase a fixed percentage of goods from local sources, but the government encourages local sourcing. Foreign investors may hold up to 100% of an investment. Except for the requirement to obtain an Alien Landholders License, foreign investment in Saint Kitts and Nevis is not subject to any restrictions, and foreign investors receive national treatment.

Investment Incentives

In an effort to increase investment, Saint Kitts and Nevis implemented a series of investment incentives. The Fiscal Incentives Acts provides a list of incentives including a tax holiday of up to 15 years; additional tax rebates of up to five years; exemption from custom duties on material and equipment deemed necessary to establish or update an enterprise; repatriation of profits, dividends, royalties, and imported capital by arrangement with the Ministry of Finance; protection of investment through government agreement between Saint Kitts and Nevis and the United States and no personal income tax. Under the Fiscal Incentives Act, four types of enterprises qualify for tax holidays. The length of the tax holiday for the first three depends on the amount of value added in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The fourth type, known as enclave industry, must produce goods exclusively for export outside the CARICOM region.

Enterprise Value Added Maximum Tax Holiday
Group I 50% or more 15 years
Group II  25% to 50% 12 years
Group III 10% to 25% 10 years
Enclave Enclave 15 years

Companies that qualify for tax holidays are allowed to import into Saint Kitts and Nevis duty-free all equipment, machinery, spare parts and raw materials used in production.

The Hotel Aids Act provides relief from customs duties on items brought into the country for use in construction, extension and equipping of a hotel of not less than ten bedrooms. In addition, the Income Tax Act provides special tax relief benefits for hotels of more than 30 bedrooms. These hotels are exempt from income tax for ten years. If the hotel contains fewer than 30 bedrooms, gains or profits would be exempt from income tax for five years.

The hotel and restaurant tax is levied on the total accommodation charges of a hotel or guest house and on the cost of food and beverage sold by a restaurant. The total rate of tax is 9% (with 2% contributing to the Hotel and Accommodation Enhancement Levy.) This tax is levied on the total accommodation.

Additionally, those who invest in Saint Kitts and Nevis do not pay a capital gains tax, and are subject to a corporate tax rate of 35% of net profits. Qualified companies enjoy full exemption from taxes on corporate profits for a period not exceeding 15 years. Corporate tax does not apply to exempt companies or to enterprises that were granted tax concession. There is no personal income tax. Saint Kitts and Nevis provides companies with a further tax concession effective at the end of the tax holiday period.

Normally, individuals and ordinary companies remitting payments to persons outside of Saint Kitts and Nevis must deduct 10% withholding tax from profits, administration, management or head office expenses, technical services fees, accounting and audit expenses, royalties, non-life insurance premiums, and rent. However, this tax does not apply to profits of an approved enterprise, which has been granted concessions under the Fiscal Incentives Act. Unincorporated Business Tax Act is levied on the gross revenue of services provided by professionals such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, and other specified persons listed in the Schedule at a rate of 4%.

Exemption from Import Duties

Full exemption from import duties on parts, raw materials, and production machinery is also available.

Research and Development

Saint Kitts and Nevis does not currently have a government financed or subsidized research and development program.

Performance Requirements

The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis does not mandate local employment. The provisions of the Labor Code outline the requirements for acquiring a work permit and prohibit anyone who is not a citizen of Saint Kitts and Nevis (and the OECS) from engaging in employment unless they have obtained a work permit. In practice, work permits are granted to senior management if no qualified nationals are available for the post and a recommendation from among citizens of the country is made for a counterparty trainee. There are no excessively onerous visa, residency or work permit requirements.

Data Storage

There are no requirements for foreign IT providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to surveillance (backdoors into hardware and software turn over keys for encryption, etc.).

6. Protection of Property RightsShare    

Real Property

Civil law protects physical property and mortgage claims. The only restriction is the requirement to obtain an Alien Landholders License for foreign investors seeking to purchase property for residential or commercial purposes. The cost of these licenses is 10% of the value of the land or of the interest in the real estate to be purchased. Licenses are granted once properly submitted to Cabinet for consideration and payment of the license fees. Foreign investors do not require a landholding license for the purchase of land in certain parts of the island, such as Frigate Bay or certain parts of the South East Peninsula. However, in lieu of the purchase of lands at Frigate Bay, foreign investors are required to pay XCD$ 50.00 .

Intellectual Property Rights

Saint Kitts and Nevis has a legislative framework regarding its commitment to the protection of intellectual property rights. While the legal structures governing intellectual property are considered strong, enforcement is largely untested. The administration of intellectual property laws in Saint Kitts and Nevis are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs. The registration of patents, trademarks, and service marks is administered by the Intellectual Property Office.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883); the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (1970); and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886). The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis is also a member of the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Article 66 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (2001) establishing the Caribbean Single Market and Economy commits all 15 members to implement stronger Intellectual Property protection and enforcement. The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was signed between the CARIFORUM States and the European Community in 2008, contains the most detailed obligations in respect of Intellectual Property in any trade agreement to which Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis is a party. The EPA gives recognition to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property. Article 139 of the EPA requires parties to “ensure an adequate and effective implementation of the international treaties dealing with intellectual property to which they are parties and of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS).”

The Customs department of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis can seize prohibited or counterfeit goods; however, it is a matter of the courts to make the determination on the forfeiture and disposal of the goods. Arrangements are to be made by the complainants with Customs to secure the goods until a judgment is made. Saint Kitts and Nevis is in the process of reviewing the existing laws in relation to the importation of counterfeit and prohibited goods.

For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/.

Resources for Rights Holders

Contact at Mission:
U.S. Embassy Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
Name: Stephen Simpson

Title: Economic/Commercial Officer
Telephone: (246) 227-4274
Email address: SimpsonSC@state.gov

Country/Economy Resources
American Chamber of Commerce for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean
Name: Dustin Delany
Title: Chairman
Telephone: (246) 228-2260
Email: dd@amchambec.com

Local attorneys list: http://barbados.usembassy.gov/st_kitts_nevis_attorneys.html .

7. Transparency of the Regulatory SystemShare    

Saint Kitts and Nevis uses transparent policies and effective laws to foster competition and establish clear rules for foreign and domestic investors in the areas of tax, labor, environment, health, and safety.

Additionally, the incorporation and registration of companies in the federation differs somewhat on its two constituent islands. In Saint Kitts, the process is regulated by the Companies Act No. 22 of 1996. The incorporation of companies in Nevis is regulated by the Nevis Island Business Corporation Ordinance, Cap. 7.01. There are no nationality restrictions for directors in a company, and in general, national treatment is applied. All registered companies must have a registered office in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

8. Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio InvestmentShare    

As a member of the OECS, Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) and the Regional Government Securities Market. The ECSE is a regional securities market established by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and licensed under the Securities Act of 2001, a uniform regional body of legislation governing securities market activities to facilitate the buying and selling of financial products for the eight member territories. The number of equities listed is 13 while the number of debt securities listed is 90. Market capitalization stood at USD $4.3 billion. Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member of this stock exchange, and is open to portfolio investment.

Money and Banking System, Hostile Takeovers

As a member of the OECS and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, the ECCB has financial oversight of Saint Kitts and Nevis, controlling its monetary and exchange rate policies. The ECCB controls the currencies of several island states including Saint Kitts and Nevis. The ECCB also regulates domestic banks. Exchange controls and restrictions on capital and non-trade current transactions have been suspended under the Exchange Control Act.

According to the most recent data available from the government, assets of commercial banks totaled USD $ 2.64 billion in January 2016, and remained relatively consistent throughout the previous year. The reserve requirement for commercial banks was 6% of deposit liabilities.

9. Competition from State-Owned EnterprisesShare    

Statutory corporations or state-owned enterprises in Saint Kitts and Nevis include the Solid Waste Management Corporation and Saint Kitts and Nevis Social Security Board. These companies do not generally pose a threat to investors, as they are not designed for competition. They support government programs such as the national pension plan and solid waste management and assist the government in achieving developmental goals.

OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of SOEs

While Saint Kitts and Nevis recognizes the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines, SOEs in Saint Kitts and Nevis are not found in the key areas earmarked for investment.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, of which Saint Kitts and Nevis is a member, does not maintain a Sovereign Wealth Fund.

10. Responsible Business ConductShare    

In Saint Kitts and Nevis, there is an awareness of responsible business conduct among both producers and consumers. The private sector is involved in projects that benefit society including in support of environmental, social and cultural causes. Individuals benefit from business sponsored initiatives when local and foreign owned enterprises pursue volunteer opportunities and make monetary or in kind donations to local causes.

The NGO community, while comparatively small, is involved in fundraising and volunteerism in gender, health, environmental and community projects. The government at times partners with non-governmental organizations (NGO) in activities. The government encourages philanthropy.

11. Political ViolenceShare    

Saint Kitts and Nevis does not have a history of political violence.

12. CorruptionShare    

While corruption related to foreign business and investment is not generally believed to be a major problem in Saint Kitts and Nevis, there have been some widely publicized allegations against former government officials.

Saint Kitts and Nevis has laws, regulations and penalties to combat corruption. However, while the law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, enforcement is not always effective. Government agencies involved in enforcement of anti-corruption laws include the Royal Saint Kitts and Nevis Police Force, the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Financial Intelligence Unit. Parliament passed the Integrity in Public Life Bill in September 2013, but government officials are not required to disclose financial assets. The Financial Intelligence Unit investigates financial crimes, but no independent body was established to handle allegations of government corruption.

In June 2015, twelve Commonwealth Caribbean countries, including Saint Kitts and Nevis, established a new regional body to enhance transparency and to help fight corruption. The formation of the Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies in the Commonwealth Caribbean was heralded as a major step forward in regional efforts to support integrity and address corruption. It is hoped that the new body will help to further strengthen public confidence in cross-border initiatives to enhance accountability, knowledge sharing and coordination.

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery

While Saint Kitts and Nevis is not party to the UN Anticorruption Convention, it is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

13. Bilateral Investment AgreementsShare    

Bilateral Taxation Treaties

Saint Kitts and Nevis has no bilateral investment treaty with the United States of America. It has Double Taxation Agreements that meet the OECD’s Standards and Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with several countries including Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It has Double Taxation Conventions (DTCs) with Monaco, San Marino and some CARICOM countries.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is also party to the following:

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

The Treaty of Chaguaramas established CARICOM in 1973. Its purpose is to promote economic integration among its fifteen (15) Member States. Investors operating in St. Kitts and Nevis are given preferential access to the entire CARICOM market. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas goes further to establish the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), by permitting the free movement of goods, capital and labor within CARICOM States.

Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

The Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishes the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The OECS consists of seven full Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines; and three associate members: Anguilla, Martinique and the British Virgin Islands. Martinique joined as an associate member in February 2015. The purpose of the Treaty is to promote harmonization among Member States in areas concerning foreign policy, defense and security, and economic affairs. The seven independent countries of the OECS ratified the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union on January 21, 2011. The Economic Union established a single financial and economic space within which all factors of production, including goods, services and people, move without hindrance.

Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was concluded between the CARIFORUM States and the European Community and its Member States in 2008. The EPA is designed to replace the now expired transitional trade regime of the Cotonou Agreement. The overarching objectives of the EPA are to alleviate poverty in CARIFORUM, to promote regional integration and economic cooperation and to foster the gradual integration of the CARIFORUM states into the world economy by improving their trade capacity and creating an investment-conducive environment. The Agreement promotes trade related developments in areas such as competition, intellectual property, and public procurement, the environment and protection of personal data.

Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI)

The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) is intended to facilitate the economic development and export diversification of the Caribbean Basin economies.

Initially launched in 1983 through the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), and substantially expanded in 2000 through the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), the CBI was further expanded in the Trade Act of 2002. It promotes economic development through private sector initiative in Central America and the Caribbean islands by expanding foreign and domestic investment in non-traditional sectors, diversifying CBI country economies and expanding their exports. The CBI provides beneficiary countries with duty-free access to the U.S. market for most goods. It permits duty free entry of products manufactured or assembled in Saint Kitts and Nevis into markets of the United States. Saint Kitts and Nevis is the largest exporter under this regime in the Eastern Caribbean.

Caribbean / Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN)

CARIBCAN is an economic and trade development assistance program for Commonwealth Caribbean countries in which Canada provides duty free access to its national market for the majority of products that originate in Commonwealth Caribbean countries.

14. OPIC and Other Investment Insurance ProgramsShare    

OPIC provides financing and political risk insurance to viable private sector projects, helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, and fosters economic development in new and emerging markets.

15. LaborShare    

Saint Kitts and Nevis has a labor force of about 25,000 persons, with a literacy rate of 98%. The country’s technical and training needs are met largely by local colleges, which offer courses in technical and vocational studies. There is also a large pool of professionals to draw from in fields such as law, medicine, business information technology and accounting. Many of the professionals in Saint Kitts and Nevis trained in the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, the wider Caribbean and the United Kingdom, where many gained work experience before returning to Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The government set the minimum wage at USD $3.31 an hour. The law provides for a 40-hour workweek and for premium pay for work above the standard workweek. There was no legal prohibition on excessive or compulsory overtime. The law also calls for paid holidays and rest days at double the rate, as well as equal pay for equal work.

Although there is no legislation governing the organization and representation of workers, The Constitution of Saint Kitts and Nevis speaks to the freedom of association and the right to organize and collective bargaining. Moreover, Saint Kitts and Nevis ratified the International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions C87 – Freedom of Association and C98 – The Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining. The Tripartite Constituents are presently consulting on a Draft Labour Code, which includes legislation on the freedom of association and the right to organize and collective bargaining.

Labor unions are free to organize and to negotiate for better wages and benefits for union members. The law prohibits anti-union discrimination, but does not require employers found guilty of such action to rehire employees who were fired for union activities. However, the employer must pay lost wages and severance pay. Collective bargaining takes place on a workplace-by-workplace basis, not industry wide.

The Labor Commissioner mediates all types of disputes between labor and management. The system of industrial relations in Saint Kitts and Nevis as outlined in the legislation, allows for labor grievances through a process of conciliation and mediation by the Department of Labour and the Commissioner, independent hearing, arbitration and finally a court of law. However, in practice few disputes actually go to the Commissioner for resolution. If neither the Commissioner nor the Ministry of Labor is able to resolve the dispute, the law allows for a case to be brought before a civil court.

Investors in Saint Kitts and Nevis are responsible for maintaining workers’ rights and safeguarding the environment. While there are no specific health and safety regulations, the Factories Act provides general health and safety guidance to Labor Ministry inspectors. The Labor Commission settles disputes over safety conditions. Workers have the right to report unsafe work environments without jeopardy to continued employment; inspectors then investigate such claims, and workers may leave such locations without jeopardy to their continued employment. The Draft Labor Code makes provision for Occupational Safety and Health.

For more information, please see: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2014&dlid=236712 .

16. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade FacilitationShare    

There are no foreign trade zones or free ports in Saint Kitts and Nevis. However, there are four fully developed industrial sites where production facilities can be constructed to specification and leased at nominal rates. Kittitian officials project that factory space will increase annually by 15,000 sq. ft. in Saint Kitts and 5,000 sq. ft. in Nevis. The sites are managed and serviced on behalf of the Government by the Development Bank of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

17. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment StatisticsShare    

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

 

Host Country Statistical source*

USG or international statistical source

USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

Economic Data

Year

Amount

Year

Amount

 

Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD)

2015

$7,396

2014

$8,522

www.worldbank.org/en/country

Foreign Direct Investment

Host Country Statistical source*

USG or international statistical source

USG or international Source of data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)

2014

Not available

2014

$5

http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm

Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions)

2014

Not available

2014

$-1

http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
multinational_companies_comprehensive_data.htm

Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP

2014

Not available

2014

Not available

Not available

* Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Statistics: http://www.eccbcentralbank.org/Statistics/index.asp

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis does not appear in the IMF’s Coordinated Direct Investment.

Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis does not appear in the IMF’s Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey for Sources of Portfolio Investment.

18. Contact for More InformationShare    

-TITLE: Commercial and Economic Affairs, Political/Economic Section
-ADDRESS OF MISSION/AIT: U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
-TELEPHONE NUMBER: 246-227-4052
-EMAIL ADDRESS: WatsonJM@state.gov