Saint Lucia

Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
Report
July 5, 2016

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Executive SummaryShare    

Saint Lucia is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). Saint Lucia is seen as one of the more developed economies in the Eastern Caribbean with an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD $1.13 billion. According to ECCB, Saint Lucia’s economy is projected to grow by 2.35% in 2016. The island nation attracts foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries. Tourism is the main economic sector; accounting for about 20% of jobs in the workforce. Saint Lucia is ranked 77th in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report for 2016.

  • The Government of Saint Lucia strongly encourages foreign direct investment, particularly tourism and hotel development, information and communication technology (ICT), manufacturing, international financial services, agro business and creative industries.
  • Companies registered in Saint Lucia 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, capital gains and bank interest taxes in Saint Lucia and the invoicing of foreign trade transactions may be made in any currency.
  • Saint Lucia is a member of to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO Dispute Settlement Panel and Appellate Body resolve disputes over WTO agreements, while courts of appropriate jurisdiction resolve private disputes.
  • Local enterprises generally welcome joint ventures with foreign investors in order to access technology, expertise, markets, and capital.
  • There are no laws mandating local ownership in specified sectors. There is one ongoing dispute regarding expropriation of an American-owned property.
  • Saint Lucia has no bilateral investment treaty with the United States. Saint Lucia has a bilateral investment treaty with the United Kingdom and with Germany.

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

77 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

Not available

BEA/Host government

World Bank GNI per capita

2014

USD 7, 260

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 Lucia strongly encourages foreign direct investment, particularly in industries that create jobs, earn foreign currency, and have a positive impact on its citizens. Invest Saint Lucia provides “one-stop shop” facilitation services to investors to guide them through the various stages of the investment process. Government concessions are granted by the applicable Government agency, not Invest Saint Lucia.

Government policies provide liberal tax holidays, waiver of import duty and consumption tax on imported plant machinery and equipment, imported raw and packaging materials, and export allowance or tax relief on export earnings. Fiscal incentives are provided under various laws to encourage the establishment and expansion of both foreign and domestic investment. Investment promotion services are also provided by Invest Saint Lucia.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

In 2014 the OECS, of which Saint Lucia is a member, conducted an investment policy review through the World Trade Organization. This report which speaks to the general investment climate in Saint Lucia can be found: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/s299-00_e.pdf.

Laws/Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

The main laws concerning foreign investment include the Fiscal Incentive Act, the Tourism Incentive Act and the Special Development Areas Act. Saint Lucia’s legal system is based on British common law; but its civil code and property law is greatly influenced by French Law. The judiciary is independent, and trials are generally fair. Foreign investors may hold up to 100% of an investment. Deregulation in the telecommunications industry facilitated access to the market of new competitors, whereas historically the industry was monopolized. There are currently two service providers: Flow (formerly Cable and Wireless) and Digicel.

All potential foreign investors must submit their proposals for review by Invest Saint Lucia to ensure that the project is consistent with the national interests and provides economic benefits to the country. Local enterprises generally welcome joint ventures with foreign investors in order to access technology, expertise, markets, and capital.

In Saint Lucia a value added tax (VAT) was enacted and replaced consumption tax, the environmental protection levy, the motor vehicle rental fee, mobile cellular telephone tax and hotel accommodation tax. More information can be found at http://vat.gov.lc/index.php.

Business Registration

The Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property office (ROCIP) is responsible for business and company registration in Saint Lucia. Their website offers information as well as an e-filing portal. More information regarding the services of the ROCIP can be found at: http://www.rocip.gov.lc/stlucia/default.aspx.

Invest Saint Lucia provides potential investors with information to help navigate the business approvals process. The Saint Lucian government encourages investment in all sectors but the key targeted sectors are: tourism, smart manufacturing, and infrastructure (hard and soft), Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), alternative energy, education and offshore business, and knowledge processing operations. Additional sectors may be appraised on merit. Invest Saint Lucia has a website that is useful to navigate the laws, rules, procedures and registration requirements for foreign investors, found at: http://www.investstlucia.com.

It takes 11 days to register a business in Saint Lucia. The process is completed through five (5) procedures. An attorney-at-law is necessary to complete the incorporation process. Further information can be obtained from the Invest Saint Lucia website.

Under the Micro and Small Scale Business Enterprises Act Chapter 13.19 of the Revised Laws of Saint Lucia (MSE Act), a micro business is described as having a maximum of five (5) employees and annual revenue of no more than USD $37, 038 (XCD $100,000) and a small business is defined as having a maximum of 50 employees and an annual revenue of no more than USD $370, 370 (XCD $1,000,000). While foreign investors do not fall under the rubric of this Act, Invest Saint Lucia provides similar business facilitation services to potential small-scale foreign investors.

Industrial Promotion

Invest Saint Lucia is the investment promotion arm of the government with identified key industries such as tourism, ICTs and infrastructure (hard and soft) to attract investment into the country.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

There is no general limit on the amount of foreign ownership or control in the establishment of a business in Saint Lucia.

Privatization Program

Saint Lucia currently does not have a targeted privatization program.

Screening of FDI

Invest Saint Lucia has the authority to offer guidance and direction to new and established investors who are interested in pursuing investment opportunities in Saint Lucia. The process is transparent and is contingent on the size of capital investment and the economic impact that it will have on the country. The incorporation and registration of a company must be done through an attorney registered and operating in Saint Lucia. A foreign investor seeking to start up a business in Saint Lucia must:

  • Prepare the incorporation documents: An attorney prepares the articles of incorporation documents.
  • Register with the Commercial Registry: When registering the company with the commercial registry, the attorney pays an administrative fee when presenting the documents for registration. The registry issues a certificate of incorporation and the registration process is finalized.
  • Obtain a tax payer identification number: Obtain and complete a registration form with the Inland Revenue Department.
  • Register as an employer with a social security institute: The competent authority is the National Insurance Corporation (NIC).

Citizenship by Investment

In January 2016, Saint Lucia introduced a Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP), which is a mechanism for generating the capital required for bridging the equity gap for investment projects in the foregoing sectors. Under the Citizenship by Investment Program, foreign individuals can obtain citizenship in accordance with the Citizenship by Investment Act 2015, 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 investment to qualify is a USD $250,000 contribution to the National Economic Fund for a family application of four persons or a real estate purchase valued at USD $300,000 or above. There are also provisions for enterprise investment in approved projects. More information on the CIP can be found at https://www.cipsaintlucia.com/.

Competition Law

Chapter 8 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas provides the competition policy applicable to 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 Caribbean 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 Lucia. 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 Lucia 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, Saint Lucia has a foreign exchange system that is fully liberalized. The Eastern Caribbean Dollar is been pegged to the United States dollar at a rate of XCD $2.70: USD $1.00. As a result, the Eastern Caribbean Dollar does not fluctuate, creating stable currency environment for trade and investment in Saint Lucia.

Remittance Policies

Companies registered in Saint Lucia 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, capital gains or bank interest taxes in Saint Lucia 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 Lucia is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). Saint Lucia 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    

Under the Land Acquisition Act, the government may by a declaration initiate the acquisition of land required for a public purpose. A notice of acquisition must be served on the person from whom the land is acquired. Saint Lucia employs a system of eminent domain to pay compensation when property needs to be acquired in the public interest. There were no reported tendencies of the government to discriminate against United States (U.S.) investments, companies or landholdings. There are no laws forcing local ownership in specified sectors.

There is one disputed case of expropriation involving an American-owned property. An American citizen purchased 32 acres of land in St. Lucia in 1969. It was expropriated in 1985 by an act of law and he has sought redress since that time. In July 2014, the Cabinet of Ministers denied the claimant’s application to rectify the land registry in his favor. However, in subsequent recognition of certain questions of fairness associated with the cabinet’s review process, the Government of St. Lucia established a committee to further review this and other similar cases in an attempt to resolve the claim.

4. Dispute SettlementShare    

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

Saint Lucia bases its legal system on the British common law system but its civil code and property law is greatly influenced by French Law. The constitution guarantees the 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 Lucia) 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. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court sits in the Saint Lucian capital of Castries. Final appeal is to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. All laws must conform to the provisions of the Constitution and are void to the extent of any inconsistency.

The police and court systems are efficient and unbiased in commercial matters, and the government operates in a generally transparent manner. The judicial system generally upholds the sanctity of contracts, although court proceedings can last years.

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 CARICOM, which are parties to the Agreement Establishing the CCJ. Saint Lucia is subject to the original jurisdiction of the CCJ.

The United States and Saint Lucia 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

Saint Lucia has a bankruptcy framework that allows for certain actions by both the debtor and the creditor. The World Bank’s Doing Business Report for 2016 addressed some limitations in resolving insolvency in Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia is ranked at 106th out of 189 countries in this particular area.

Investment Disputes

The U.S. Embassy Bridgetown is not aware of any current investment disputes in Saint Lucia.

International Arbitration

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is the domestic arbitration body within Saint Lucia and the local courts do recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards. The Arbitration Act (2001) provides general and specific provisions on arbitration rules and procedures in Saint Lucia.

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Saint Lucia is a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States of October 14, 1966, but 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 for 2016, Saint Lucia is ranked 67th out of 189 economies for enforcement of contracts. Dispute resolution generally took 635 days, however this may vary. The slow court system and bureaucracy are widely seen as main hindrances to timely resolutions to commercial disputes. In January 2016, Saint Lucia established a Commercial Court, which should augur well for the efficiency of contract enforcement and dispute resolution.

5. Performance Requirements and Investment IncentivesShare    

WTO/TRIMS

The Government of Saint Lucia has a wide framework of incentives for foreign investors. The Invest Saint Lucia Act No. 14 of 2014 addresses government policy to attract investment. The Trade License Act, Aliens Licensing Act, Development Incentives Act, Special Development Areas Act, Income Tax Act, Free Zones Act, Tourism Development Act, and Fiscal Incentives Act all impact foreign investment as well. Except for pork and chicken, there is no requirement that enterprises must purchase a fixed percentage of goods from local sources, but the government encourages local sourcing. Companies purchasing chicken must purchase a minimum of 25% locally-produced chicken, and companies purchasing pork must purchase a minimum of 40% locally-produced pork.

The Fiscal Incentives Act No. 15 of 1974 allows for fiscal incentives to enterprises to facilitate local and foreign investment in productive sectors of the economy. Special consideration is given to export-oriented manufacturing enterprises. If a company seeks fiscal incentives, depending upon the sector, an application is filed with the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs, with a copy to the Invest Saint Lucia office. In response, the investor receives a clear answer based on the review of the application. The purpose of the approval process for fiscal incentives is to ensure consistency with national interest policies, legal requirements, and net economic benefit. Criteria for fiscal incentives qualification are: the enterprise must be incorporated and registered in Saint Lucia; the enterprise must contribute to the economic development of Saint Lucia; the country’s human and natural resources must be utilized; the enterprise must train local personnel and upgrade its plant through technological transfer; the enterprise must form linkages with other economic sectors; and the enterprise must contribute to earnings in foreign exchange.

The Fiscal Incentives Act provides a list of incentives including a tax holiday of up to 15 years for approved projects; a waiver of import duty and consumption tax on imported machinery and plant equipment; a waiver of import duty and consumption tax on imported raw and packaging materials and an export allowance on export earnings. Under the Fiscal Incentives Act, four types of enterprise qualify for tax holidays. The length of the tax holiday for the first three depends on the amount of value added in Saint Lucia. 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

 The standard corporate income tax rate is 30%. An International Business Company (IBC) may elect to be exempted from paying income tax or to be liable to income tax on the chargeable income of the company at the rate of 1%. An IBC is not subject to stamp duties, withholding tax or capital gains tax. Saint Lucia provides companies with a further tax concession effective at the end of the tax holiday period. Full exemption from import duties on parts, raw materials, and production machinery is also available.

There are some special license requirements as to acquisition of land, development of buildings and expansion of existing construction, and special standards for various aspects of the tourism industry. Individuals or corporate bodies who are not citizens and who are seeking to acquire land may require a license prior to the execution of the transactions, depending upon the amount of land in question.

The Special Development Areas Act seeks to encourage investment in designated areas throughout the island. Special development areas are Vieux-Fort, Anse la Raye, Soufriere, Canaries and Dennery. Special concessions offered under this law include: exemption on import duty, stamp duty and consumption tax on inputs for the construction of new buildings and the renovation or refurbishment of existing buildings; land and house tax; stamp duty payable by vendors and purchasers on the initial purchase of property; higher tax allowances; and accelerated depreciation. Types of businesses that may qualify for these concessions are: residential complexes; commercial or industrial buildings; facilities directed towards the improvement or expansion of services to the tourism sector; water-based activities; tourism projects highlighting the heritage and natural environment of St. Lucia; arts and cultural investments; agricultural based activities; and fisheries based activities.

The Tourism Incentives Act provides for earnings to be exempt from income tax, as a tourism project managed by or on behalf of a company is entitled to distribute profits to shareholders or debenture holders as capital monies free of tax during the two year period following the end of the tax holiday. The Act also allows for customs duty exemptions, and permits the importation into St. Lucia free of customs duty and consumption tax of materials and equipment used exclusively in connection with the construction and equipping of the tourism project.

The Free Zone Act is designed to promote export development and foreign investment projects in a ‘bureaucracy-free, duty-free, and tax-free” environment for prescribed activities. Incentives include: exemption for customs duties, taxes and related charges on all classes of goods entering the Free zone for commercial or operating purposes; no restrictions or taxes on foreign exchange transactions; no taxes on dividends for the first 20 years of operation; no work permit fees for management personnel of Free zone businesses; no import or export licenses and no price control; and no company income tax for the first five years, and thereafter a very limited tax range.

Investment Incentives

The government of Saint Lucia does not mandate local employment. However, foreign investors are expected to add value to the local economy, which can be achieved through employment and this is also taken into consideration if the company wishes to benefit from the local incentive regime. All non-CARICOM individuals and companies intending to conduct business in Saint Lucia and own more than 49% of the company’s shares are required to obtain a Trade License. The Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs issues Trade Licenses. Under the Foreign National and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Regulation, anyone outside of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) wanting to conduct business or be gainfully employed in Saint Lucia must apply for a work permit. Applications can be obtained from the Labor Department of the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Labor.

Research and Development

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

Performance Requirements

Foreign investment in Saint Lucia is not subject to any restrictions, and foreign investors are entitled to receive the same treatment as nationals of Saint Lucia. The only restriction is the requirement to obtain an Alien Landholding License for foreign investors seeking to purchase property for residential or commercial purposes.

No industries are officially closed to private enterprise, although some activities, such as telecommunications, utilities, broadcasting, banking, and insurance, require a license from the government. There is no percentage, or other restrictions, on foreign ownership of a local enterprise or participation in a joint venture.

Data Storage

There are no requirements for foreign IT providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to surveillance (e.g. 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. There are some special license requirements as to acquisition of land, development of buildings and expansion of existing construction, and special standards for various aspects of the tourism industry. Individuals or corporate bodies who are not citizens and who are seeking to acquire land require an Alien Landholders License prior to the execution of the transactions, depending upon the amount of land in question. This license is obtained through the Ministry of Physical Development and must be lodged by a local solicitor. Saint Lucia is currently ranked 132nd on the ease of registering property in the World Bank’s Doing Business report 2016.

Intellectual Property Rights

Saint Lucia has a wide legislative framework regarding its commitment to the protection of intellectual property rights. While these legal structures governing intellectual property could be considered as strong, enforcement has been viewed as generally weak. The administration of intellectual property laws in Saint Lucia are under the responsibility of the Attorney General. The registration of patents, trademarks, and service marks is administered by the Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property office.

Saint Lucia is signatory to the Washington Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits; the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty; WIPO Copyright Treaty; the Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks; the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms; the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks; the Patent Cooperation Treaty; the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations; the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property; the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization.

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 (IP) 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 IP in any trade agreement to which Saint Lucia 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 Comptroller of Customs of the Government of Saint Lucia spearheads the enforcement and preventive aspects which includes the detention, seizure and forfeiture of goods. The Customs and Excise Department also conducts investigations of customs offences, administers fines and penalties.

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 and President
Telephone: (246) 228-2260
Email: dd@amchambec.com

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

7. Transparency of the Regulatory SystemShare    

Saint Lucia provides a legal framework to foster competition and establish clear rules for foreign and domestic investors in the areas of tax, labor, environment, health, and safety.

Saint Lucia’s international financial services sector is governed through the International Business Companies (IBC) Act (2000). The Financial Sector Supervision Unit has oversight over the sector through the Insurance Act and the International Financial Services Legislation. Saint Lucia’s Financial Services industry is generally regarded as transparent.

The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards is a statutory body established under the Standards Act No. 14 of 1990. It develops, establishes, maintains and promotes standards for improving industrial development, industrial efficiency, promoting the health and safety of consumers as well as protecting the environment, food and food products, the quality of life for the citizenry and the facilitation of trade. It also conducts national training and consultations in international standards practices.

Saint Lucia is working to improve customs efficiency, modernize customs operations, and address inefficiencies in the clearance of goods.

8. Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio InvestmentShare    

As a member of the OECS, Saint Lucia 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 ECCB 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 Lucia is a member of this stock exchange, and is open to portfolio investment.

Money and Banking System, Hostile Takeovers

Saint Lucia’s monetary and exchange rate policies are determined by the ECCB. The ECCB regulates domestic banks. Exchange controls 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 $2.13 billion in January 2016 and remained relatively consistent throughout the previous year. The reserve requirement for commercial banks is 6% of deposit liabilities.

9. Competition from State-Owned EnterprisesShare    

There are a very limited number of statutory corporations (state-owned enterprises) in Saint Lucia. Statutory corporations or state-owned enterprises in Saint Lucia include the National Insurance Corporation and the Water and Sewage Company Inc. Those that exist do not generally post a threat to investors, as they directly support the government in achieving its objectives.

OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of SOEs

As a member of the OECS, Saint Lucia 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 ECCB and it facilitates the buying and selling of financial products for the eight member territories.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

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

10. Responsible Business ConductShare    

In Saint Lucia, 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 Lucia 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 Lucia, there were some widely publicized allegations against government officials. Access to information is legally guaranteed, and government officials are required by law to present their financial assets annually to the Integrity Commission.

Saint Lucia has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption; notably the Integrity in Public Life Act of 2004. 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 Lucia Police Force, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Integrity Commission and the Financial Intelligence Unit.

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery

The country is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and acceded to the United Nations Convention against Corruption on 18 November 2011.

Resources to Report Corruption

-ORGANIZATION: Integrity Commission
-ADDRESS: First Floor, Sir Stanislaus James Building, Waterfront, Castries

13. Bilateral Investment AgreementsShare    

Bilateral Taxation Treaties

Saint Lucia has no bilateral investment treaty with the United States. Saint Lucia does have a bilateral investment treaty with the United Kingdom and with Germany.

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. Lucia 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 Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The OECS consists of seven full Member States of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines and the three associate members of 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 six 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 replaced 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, public procurement, the environment, and protection of personal data.

Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI)

The objective of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) is to promote 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. It permits duty free entry of products manufactured or assembled in St. Lucia into U.S. markets.

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    

There is no formal national minimum wage established in Saint Lucia. A government appointed minimum wage commission submitted its recommendations on the establishing of a minimum wage and the level at which this wage structure should be established. The legislated workweek is 40 hours with a maximum of eight hours per day. Overtime hours are at the discretion of the employer and the agreement of the employee. Pay is time and a half for work over eight hours and double for work on Sundays and public holidays. Monthly paid workers are entitled to a minimum of 14 paid vacation days after one year. Workers paid on a daily or biweekly schedule have a minimum of 14 vacation days after 200 working days. Special legislation covers work hours for shop assistants, agricultural workers, domestic workers, and workers in industrial establishments. Labor laws, including occupational health and safety standards, apply to all workers whether they are in the formal or informal sectors.

Saint Lucia has a labor force of about 101,608 persons (2015 estimate), with a literacy rate of 72.8 percent (2010 census). The country’s technical and training needs are met largely by the local state college, which offers courses in technical and vocational skills. There is also a pool of professionals to draw from, in fields such as law, medicine, business information technology and accounting. Many of the professionals in Saint Lucia trained in the United States, Canada, the wider Caribbean and the United Kingdom, where many gained work experience before returning to Saint Lucia.

The law, including applicable statues and regulations, specifies the right of most workers to form and join independent unions, strike, and bargain collectively. The law also prohibits anti-union discrimination, and workers fired for union activity have the right to reinstatement.

The law places restrictions on the right to strike by members of the police and fire departments, health services, and utilities (electricity, water, and telecommunications) on the grounds that these organizations provide “essential services.” They must give 30 days’ notice before striking. Once workers give notice, authorities usually referred the matter to an ad hoc tribunal set up under the Essential Services Act. The government selects tribunal members, following rules to ensure tripartite representation. The ad hoc labor tribunals try to resolve disputes through mandatory arbitration.

The government effectively enforced these laws, including with effective remedies and penalties, but there were insufficient resources for investigation and enforcement of labor standards. The Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Labor employed seven labor officers (inspectors) who, due to financial constraints, focused mainly on occupational health and safety concerns. Violations of the labor code can result in fines of up to USD $3,704 and two years in prison. Penalties were sufficient to deter violations. The Saint Lucia Labor ‘Code’ Act (2006) was passed in August 2012, which further defines worker rights, employers’ rights and increases penalties for violations.

Investors in Saint Lucia are responsible for maintaining workers’ rights and safeguarding the environment. The Labor Commissioner 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.

For more information, please see: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2014&dlid=236714 and http://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab/explore-our-resources/reports/child-labor/saint-lucia .

16. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade FacilitationShare    

Saint Lucia has a Free zone created by law; it is an enclosed area treated for customs purposes as lying outside the customs territory of the island. Goods of foreign origin may be held pending eventual trans-shipment, re-exportation and, in some cases, importation into the local market, without payment of customs duties.

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

$1,137

2014

$1,404

http://data.worldbank.org/country/st-lucia

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)

2015

$24

2014

Not available

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

Not available

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

Saint Lucia 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