Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, through Invest SVG, strongly encourages FDI, particularly in industries that create jobs and earn foreign currency. The government is open to all investment, but is currently prioritizing investment in niche markets, particularly tourism, international financial services, agricultural processing, light manufacturing, renewable energy, scientific and medical research, creative industries, and information and communication technologies.
Invest SVG’s FDI policy is designed to attract investment into priority sectors. It advises the government on the formation and implementation of policies and programs that attract and facilitate investment. The government offers special incentive packages for foreign investments in the hotel industry and light manufacturing. The government offers other incentive packages on an ad hoc basis.
There are no limits on foreign control in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, nor are there requirements for local investment or ownership in locally registered companies, although non-nationals must apply for a license from the Prime Minister’s Office to acquire more than 50 percent of a company. An attorney must submit the application and Cabinet must approve it. Companies holding at least five acres of land may restrict or prohibit the issue or transfer of their shares or debentures to non-nationals.
The government has not officially closed any industries to private investment, although some activities such as telecommunications, utilities, broadcasting, banking, and insurance require a government license.
The OECS, of which Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a member, has not conducted a World Trade Organization (WTO) trade policy review since 2014. There have also not been any investment policy reviews by civil society organizations in the past five years.
Invest SVG facilitates domestic and foreign direct investment in priority sectors and advises the government on the formation and implementation of policies and programs to attract investment. Invest SVG provides business support services and market intelligence to all investors. It also reviews all investment projects applying for government incentives to ensure they conform to national interests and provide economic benefits to the country. Its website is http://www.investsvg.com . In addition to its website, the country offers an online guide that is useful for navigating the laws, rules, procedures, and registration requirements for foreign investors. The guide is available at http://theiguides.org/public-docs/guides/saintvincentandthegrenadines .
The general practice is to retain an attorney to prepare all incorporation documents. Local laws dictate that a business must register with the Commerce and Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), the Ministry of Trade, the Inland Revenue Department, and the National Insurance Service. The CIPO has an online information portal that describes the steps to register a business in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. There is no online registration process, but the required forms are available online. These must be printed and submitted to the CIPO. More information is available at http://www.cipo.gov.vc .
There is no restriction on domestic investors seeking to do business abroad. Local companies are actively encouraged to take advantage of export opportunities specifically related to the country’s membership in the OECS Economic Union and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), which enhances the competitiveness of the local and regional private sectors across traditional and emerging high-potential markets.
2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation Treaties
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has not signed a bilateral investment treaty with the United States. The country, however, has bilateral tax treaties with the United States, Canada, the UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. In 1989, Germany and St. Vincent and the Grenadines signed a treaty for the Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investment. In 2018, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the UAE concluded an Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation on Income and an Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is also party to the following economic communities and organizations:
The Treaty of Chaguaramas established the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in 1973. Its purpose is to promote economic integration among its 15 member states. Investors operating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have preferential access to the entire CARICOM market. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) established the CSME, which permits the free movement of goods, capital, and labor among CARICOM states. CARICOM has bilateral agreements with Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. In 2013, CARICOM entered into a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States.
Organization of Eastern Caribbean States
The Revised Treaty of Basseterre established the OECS. The OECS consists of seven full members (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), and three associate members (Anguilla, Martinique, and the British Virgin Islands). Guadeloupe signed an accession agreement to the OECS in 2019. The purpose of the Treaty is to promote harmonization among member states in foreign policy, defense and security, and economic affairs. The six independent countries and Montserrat ratified the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union, which entered into force in 2011. The Economic Union established a single financial and economic space within which goods, services, and people move without hindrance.
CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement
The Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) and the European Community signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in 2008. The overarching objectives of the EPA are to alleviate poverty, promote regional integration and economic cooperation, and foster the gradual integration of the CARIFORUM states into the world economy by improving trade capacity and creating an investment-conducive environment. The EPA promotes trade-related developments in areas such as competition, intellectual property, public procurement, the environment, and the protection of personal data.
CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement
The UK and the CARIFORUM states signed an EPA in 2019, committing to trade continuity after Britain’s departure from the European Union. The CARIFORUM-UK EPA eliminates all tariffs on all goods imported from CARIFORUM states into the UK, while those Caribbean states will continue to gradually cut import tariffs on most of the region’s imports from the UK.
Caribbean Basin Initiative
The Caribbean Basin Initiative facilitates the economic development and export diversification of the Caribbean Basin economies. It promotes economic development through private sector initiatives in Central America and the Caribbean by expanding foreign and domestic investment in non-traditional sectors, diversifying country economies, and expanding their imports. The Caribbean Basin Initiative 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 St. Vincent and the Grenadines into the United States.
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 most products originating in Commonwealth Caribbean countries.
13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics
|Host Country Statistical source*||USG or international statistical source||USG or International Source of Data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other|
|Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD)||2019||$823||2019||825||www.worldbank.org/en/country|
|Foreign Direct Investment||Host Country Statistical source*||USG or international statistical source||USG or international Source of data: BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other|
|U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)||N/A||N/A||2020||7||BEA data available at
|Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions)||N/A||N/A||2020||1||BEA data available at
|Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP||N/A||N/A||2019||199.5||UNCTAD data available at
* Source for Host Country Data: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank https://eccb-centralbank.org/statistics/dashboard-datas/
Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Data not available.
Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment
Data not available.