Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). According to Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) statistics as of December 31, 2018, Antigua and Barbuda had an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 1.3 billion in 2018, with forecast growth of 4.98 percent in 2019. During the last fiscal year, the economy of Antigua and Barbuda remained buoyant despite ongoing reconstruction of the island of Barbuda following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. According to ECCB statistics, the economy grew by 4.93 percent in 2018. The government remains committed to improving the business climate to attract more foreign investment.
In the World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business Report, published in October 2018, Antigua and Barbuda is ranked 112th out of 190 countries rated. The report highlighted the need for reforms in getting access to credit, but noted some improvements in payment of taxes and resolving insolvency.
The government strongly encourages foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly in industries that create jobs and earn foreign exchange. Through the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA), the government facilitates and supports FDI in the country and maintains an open dialogue with current and potential investors. All potential investors are afforded the same level of business facilitation services.
While the government welcomes all FDI, tourism and related services, manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries, information and communication technologies, business process outsourcing, financial services, health and wellness services (medical tourism and medical education), creative industries, yachting and marine services, real estate, and renewable energy have been identified by the government as priority investment areas. Antigua and Barbuda has also adopted legislation to create a medical cannabis industry through the passage of the Cannabis Act 2018. The government appointed members of the Antigua and Barbuda Medicinal Cannabis Authority in April 2019 to facilitate the establishment of a legal medical marijuana industry.
There are no limits on foreign control of investment and ownership in Antigua and Barbuda. Foreign investors may hold up to 100 percent of an investment, and a local or foreign entrepreneur needs about 40 days from start to finish to transfer the title on a piece of property.
Antigua and Barbuda bases its legal system on British Common law. There is currently an unresolved dispute regarding expropriation of an American-owned property. For this reason, many businesses have recommended continued caution when investing in real estate in Antigua and Barbuda.
There are currently two double taxation agreements in force with the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. Antigua and Barbuda currently has 22 Tax Information Exchange Agreements in force.
In February 2017, the government signed an Intergovernmental Agreement in observance of the United States’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), making it mandatory for banks in Antigua and Barbuda to report the banking information of U.S. citizens.
Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
|TI Corruption Perceptions Index||2018||N/A||http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview|
|World Bank’s Doing Business Report||2019||112 of 190||http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/rankings|
|Global Innovation Index||2018||N/A||https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator|
|U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)||2018||$7||http://www.bea.gov/international/factsheet/|
|World Bank GNI per capita (USD)||2018||$13,870||http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD|