Grenada’s legal framework for business is strong. The country is a parliamentary democracy, has a functioning court system, relatively low crime rates, and no political violence. A comprehensive investment incentive regime, stable economy, existing trade agreements, and responsive investment promotion experts contribute to Grenada’s healthy and attractive investment climate.
Preliminary data for the first half of 2019 indicated that the economy was poised to experience its seventh consecutive year of growth, estimated at 3.2 percent. Growth in 2019 was fueled by activities in the tourism, education and transportation sectors, in addition to relatively strong performances in the retail and manufacturing sector. Before the COVID-19 crisis, analysts anticipated that Grenada’s 2020 growth rate would be above the projected 3.6 percent average for the members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). Grenada’s fiscal position was strong, with a projected primary surplus after grants of 6.8 percent of GDP at the end of 2019. The country’s debt to GDP ratio continued its downward trajectory, moving from 62.7 percent at the end of 2018 to an estimated 55.8 percent of GDP at the end of 2019. The unemployment rate is approximately 15.2 percent, down from 40 percent in 2013, and average inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index remains at 1 percent. However, the economic impact of COVID-19 is expected to increase unemployment in the short- to medium-term.
Grenada has experienced a wave of foreign direct investment (FDI), primarily within the tourism sector and through Grenada’s citizenship by investment (CBI) program. The Grenada Investment Development Corporation (GIDC) approves over 90 percent of applications for investment incentives. According to the GIDC, Grenada receives an average of $100 million per year in foreign direct investment and $20 million per year in domestic investment.
In 2019, hotels were upgraded and new resorts established. The Royalton Grenada opened in March 2020. This growth in Grenada’s room stock is intended to facilitate and promote increased stay-over and cruise passenger arrivals.
The recent discovery of natural gas within Grenadian waters and the government’s interest in exploring renewables is a very important development within the energy sector. This discovery opens a new and viable area for investment in gas production and export. Climate resilience initiatives and the blue economy are also areas ripe for investment. Other international investments include projects in construction, retail, duty-free outlets, and agriculture.
The Grenada parliament made legislative revisions to value added tax, property transfer tax, investment, excise tax, customs (service charge), and bankruptcy and insolvency acts. The government also launched an innovative Investment Incentives Regime intended to streamline bureaucratic and legal processes. This new regime promotes transparency, equitable practices, and adherence to the rule of law, thus bolstering Grenada’s marketability as an investor-friendly location.
1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
Grenada employs a liberal approach to FDI. The strategic agenda of the government states that investment is directly related to the socio-economic growth and development of the country. As a result, the government of Grenada identified additional foreign investment opportunities related to the country’s resource endowment of “sand, sun, sea and rich fertile soil.” The government of Grenada identified the following 5 priority sectors for investment:
Tourism and hospitality services
Education and health services
Information and communication technology
The GIDC is the country’s investment promotion agency. It is comprised of three strategic business units responsible for carrying out its core responsibilities. They are:
Investment Promotion Agency: responsible for investment promotion facilitation;
Business Development Centre: provides business support services to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises; and,
Facilities: manages the three business parks owned by the GIDC.
The GIDC is a “one-stop shop” offering:
Investment and trade information
Investment facilitation and aftercare
Entrepreneurial/business skills training
Small business support services
Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
There are no economic and industrial strategies that discriminate against foreign investors. Non-Grenadian investors may be required to obtain an Alien Landholding License and pay a property transfer tax, which levies a 10 percent fee on the purchase of shares in a Grenadian registered company or real estate asset. In addition, the sale of shares or real estate to non-nationals attracts a property transfer tax of 15 percent payable by the seller. Foreign investors employed in Grenada are required to obtain a work permit, renewable annually. U.S. investors must pay a fee of $1,111 (3,000 Eastern Caribbean dollars) for work permits. The renewal fee varies based on the investor’s country of citizenship.
There are no limits on foreign ownership or control. Foreign investors may not invest in or operate investment enterprises that are prejudicial to national security or detrimental to the environment, public health, or national culture, or which contravene the laws of Grenada. Grenada has accepted but not yet implemented regional obligations on anti-competition concerns. U.S. investors are not disadvantaged or singled out by any of the ownership or control mechanisms, sector restrictions, or investment screening mechanisms in Grenada relative to other foreign investors.
Grenada maintains an investment screening and approval process for inbound foreign investment for national security concerns.
Other Investment Policy Reviews
Grenada passed its most recent Investment Promotion Act in 2014. The legislation promotes, encourages, and protects investment in Grenada by providing investors with a stable framework of fundamental and enforceable rights. It seeks to guarantee and ensure security and fairness in strict accordance with the rule of law and best international standards and practices. The 2014 Act complies with WTO regulations, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the Agreement between the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) and the EU.
In 2016, parliament approved a new incentives regime, ensuring all tax exemptions are codified in the relevant legislation. It also restricted discretionary exemptions and required that the beneficiaries of exemptions file appropriate tax returns and comply with tax requirements.
The incentive regime created a streamlined, simple, and non-discretionary system/process for the granting of incentives. The Customs and Inland Revenue Departments administer exemptions through a clearly defined rule-based system.
Incentives will be granted to projects within the priority sectors for investment. They are tourism; manufacturing; agriculture and agribusiness; information technology services; telecommunication providers and business process outsourcing operations; education and training; health and wellness; creative industries; energy; and research and development. Other sectors also include student accommodation; heavy equipment operators; investment projects above particular investment thresholds; and projects within specific geographical locations.
The incentive regime seeks to provide investment incentives on a performance basis (i.e. the more one invests, the more incentives one can receive). Therefore, based on the level of investment, different levels of incentives will be granted in a transparent, open, predictable, and non-discriminatory manner.
In the past three years, the government did not undergo any third-party investment policy reviews through multilateral organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Political and economic stability, human resource capacity, supportive government policies, trade and investment opportunities, quality of life, and good infrastructure provide a positive environment for FDI in Grenada.
An investor must register a business name and identify whether it is a partnership or limited liability company. A registered business can be wholly owned or a joint venture. The official website of the GIDC includes an investor’s guide that details the procedures for starting and operating a business in Grenada. The guide has a business procedure flow chart and gives step-by-step instructions for various tasks from registering a business and owning properties to obtaining permits and licenses. Detailed information on business registration and timelines can be found at: http://grenadaidc.com/investor-centre/investors-guide/starting-up-a-business/#.WKxXdfnQe70
The GIDC provides business facilitation mechanisms and ensures the equitable treatment of women and underrepresented minorities in the economy.
The government of Grenada does not promote or incentivize outward investment. However, under the Revised Treaty of Chagaramus, there are Rights of Establishment in any CARICOM member state. There is also a chapter on service agreements under the EPA. Under certain circumstances, provisions in these agreements may offer incentives to the potential investor. Grenada does not restrict domestic investors from investing abroad.
2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation Treaties
Bilateral Investment Agreements established between Grenada and several countries are designed to encourage and protect international investments and to ensure that investors receive fair, equitable, and nondiscriminatory treatment. Bilateral Investment Treaties exist between Grenada and the United States as well as Grenada and the UK.
Grenada is a member of CARICOM, established by the Treaty of Chagaramus in 1973 to promote economic integration and development among its 15 member states. The Revised Treaty of Chagaramus later established the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) to provide for the free movement of goods, services, capital, and labor within member states.
Grenada is also a member of CARIFORUM and party to the EPA between the EU and CARICOM member states. This agreement aims to alleviate poverty, foster regional integration, promote economic cooperation, and propel CARIFORUM states’ entry into the world economy by creating an attractive investment climate and ensuring trade viability on the world market.
Grenada is also a member of the Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN), an agreement between the Canadian government and the Commonwealth Caribbean nations to promote trade, investment, and industrial cooperation. Treaties with investment provisions also exist through the CARICOM-Costa Rica free trade agreement (FTA), CARICOM-Cuba Cooperation Agreement, CARICOM-Dominican Republic FTA and CARICOM-Venezuela FTA. Grenada, under the umbrella of CARICOM, is reviewing trade agreements with Cuba and the Dominican Republic to negotiate new market access and opportunities.
There is also an agreement with the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), an initiative created by the United States with the Caribbean and Central America to provide several trade and tariff benefits, among others.
In 2018, Grenada signed a bilateral Open Skies Agreement with the United States. This agreement replaces the 1946 Bermuda I Agreement, and ensures a more current, responsive, and beneficial arrangement that is reflective of modern civil aviation trends.
Bilateral Taxation Treaties: Grenada passed legislation that will implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Inter-Governmental Agreement (FATCA) with the United States. FATCA requires that information on U.S. citizens with accounts at local financial and credit institutions holding in excess of $18,500 (50,000 Eastern Caribbean dollars) be shared with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The legislation provides for the Competent Authority to be the Comptroller of Inland Revenue, who will communicate directly with the IRS. The Comptroller will mandate his/her staff to gather information from financial institutions to be divulged to the IRS. According to the legislation, “failure to comply with such a request is a summary offence punishable by a fine not exceeding $100,000 [Eastern Caribbean dollars].”
The legislation also provides for the protection of privacy, stating that the Competent Authority must protect confidential account information. Other than FATCA, the United States does not have a tax treaty with Grenada.
3. Legal Regime
Transparency of the Regulatory System
Grenada recognizes that investors value transparent rules and regulations dealing with investment.
The Investment Act and the Investment Promotion Regime promote transparency by authorizing investment incentives in key sectors through the GIDC. This helps to streamline processes, standardize treatment of investors, and better define investment rights. It also provides procedural guarantees and reduces the possibility for political influence in business negotiations.
Grenada also promotes investment by consulting with interested parties, simplifying and codifying legislation, using plain language drafting, developing registers of existing and proposed regulation, expanding the use of electronic dissemination of regulatory material, and publishing and reviewing administrative decisions.
Tax, labor, environment, health and safety, and other laws or policies do not distort nor impede investment. In theory, bureaucratic procedures, including those for licenses and permits, are sufficiently streamlined and transparent. In practice, local authorities recognize that procedures can sometimes be slow.
Legal, regulatory, and accounting systems are generally transparent and consistent with international norms. Public finances and debt obligations, including explicit and contingent liabilities, are also transparent and in keeping with international requirements. There are clear institutional arrangements established to support the implementation of transparent regimes governing investment.
International Regulatory Considerations
Grenada has been a member of the WTO since 1996 and is a party to agreements established under the organization. In pursuit of WTO compliance, Grenada recently signed, and is in the process of negotiating, trade and investment agreements that contain provisions better aligned with the provisions of the WTO. Grenada is a member of CARICOM and the CSME, which adheres to the international norms and regulatory standards outlined by the WTO. In keeping with WTO regulations, the government notifies all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade.
Legal System and Judicial Independence
The Prime Minister and his cabinet have the executive authority to negotiate and sign international agreements and conventions with other states and international organizations.
Grenada’s judicial system is based on English common law. The judiciary has four levels: The Magistrates Court, the High Court, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, and the UK-based Privy Council.
The Magistrates Court primarily handles minor civil and criminal cases, while the High Court adjudicates cases under the purview of the Acts of Parliament. Appeals from the Magistrates Court are heard by the High Court, while appeals from the High Court are heard by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is comprised of the Chief Justice, who serves as the Head of the Judiciary; four Justices of Appeal; nineteen High Court Judges; and three Masters, who are primarily responsible for procedural and interlocutory matters. The Court of Appeal judges are based at the Court’s headquarters in Castries, St. Lucia.
The Privy Council serves Grenada as the final Court of Appeal. However, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction under Section 211 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, to which Grenada is a party. The Treaty delineates rights and responsibilities within CARICOM to hear and decide disputes concerning the interpretation and application of the Treaty.
The judicial system remains independent of the executive branch, and judicial processes are generally competent, fair, and reliable. Provisions are also made for appeals with the relevant court. Grenadian law also provides for the use of arbitration and mediation to resolve investment disputes.
Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
The economy is supported by a strong legislative and regulatory framework that encourages FDI and promotes investment initiatives. Grenada augmented the investment climate with a revitalization of its CBI program. In 2018, receipts from the CBI program were more than $29.6 million (80 million Eastern Caribbean dollars), which financed several developments in the tourism sector.
In 2016, parliament passed several legislative changes to enhance the investment climate in Grenada and ensure a streamlined process for investors. Changes were made to the following Acts:
Value Added Tax Amendment Act – This Act amended the Value Added Tax Act Cap.333A to provide for VAT exemptions for qualifying investments in priority sectors and should be applied in conjunction with regulations made pursuant to the Investment Act of 2014 to determine what the priority sectors are for economic growth.
Excise Tax Amendment Act – This Act amends the Excise Tax Act Cap. 94 to provide for tax incentives for investors engaged in manufacturing and investors entitled to conditional duties exemptions for motor vehicles.
Property Transfer Tax Amendment Act – This Act amends the Property Transfer Tax Act Cap. 257C to provide more favourable rates of property transfer tax for investors. The Property Transfer Tax (Amendment) Act, 2015 (No. 23 of 2015) reduced the property transfer tax payable by non-citizens with qualifying investments from 10 percent to 5 percent. This Act expands this incentive and would be applied in conjunction with regulations made pursuant to the Investment Act for the establishment of priority sectors for economic growth.
Customs Service Charge Amendment Act – This Act amends the Customs (Service Charge) Act Cap. 75D to remove the discretionary power of cabinet to prescribe varying rates of customs service charge (CSC) and to prescribe a new rate of CSC applicable to investors engaged in manufacturing.
Investment Amendment Act– This Act provides for specified circumstances under which the Minister of Finance may make regulations under the principal Act.
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Amendment Act – This Act modernized the law relating to bankruptcy and insolvency of individuals and companies. The Bankruptcy Act, which applies only to individuals, was repealed. Provisions in other Acts, such as the Companies Act, dealing with liquidation or winding up, continue to apply. The Act is based on the Canadian Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, which has been used as a model in several Caribbean countries.
Income Tax Amendment Act– This Act amended the Income Tax Act Cap. 149 to provide for a waiver on withholding tax applicable on specified types of repatriated funds relating to investors engaged in tourism accommodation or health and wellness, among other matters.
The GIDC, together with the Inland Revenue and Customs Department of Grenada, works to ensure adherence to the rule of law and to facilitate the procedures outlined in the revised investment regime. The legal and regulatory framework governing foreign direct investment in Grenada is described here:
Competition and Anti-Trust Laws
There are no laws that regulate competition in Grenada. However, Grenada discussed model draft bills at the CARICOM and Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) levels. These drafts are being formulated to strengthen market regimes under the CSME. CARICOM established a Competition Commission and plans are underway to establish a sub-regional Eastern Caribbean Competition Commission.
Expropriation and Compensation
According to the Constitution, Grenada shall not compulsorily acquire or take possession of any investment or any asset of an investor except for a purpose which is legal and non-discriminatory. If the government expropriates property for a legal purpose, it must promptly pay adequate and effective compensation. Owners of expropriated assets have the right to file claims in the High Court regarding the amount of compensation or ownership of the expropriated asset.
In the past, Grenadian citizens had their lands expropriated to permit foreign investments but were compensated for such actions. There are no sectors at greater risk of expropriation, and there are no laws requiring local ownership. All expropriations have been subject to legal due process.
ICSID Convention and New York Convention
Grenada is a signatory and contracting member of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) since 1991 and has engaged this platform to resolve past disputes. While Grenadian laws have adapted the provisions outlined in the New York Convention, the country is not a contracting state and has not ratified the convention.
Investor-State Dispute Settlement
In 2016, parliament repealed the 1994 Electricity Supply Act, opening the market to potential independent power producers, with a preference for using renewable energy resources. This repealed the exclusive license that was granted to the country’s sole electricity provider, Grenada Electricity Services (GRENLEC). WRB Enterprises, an American company, had a significant stake in GRENLEC. WRB and the government of Grenada ultimately agreed that the 2016 Electricity Supply Act amounted to a breach of GRENLEC’s contract with the government of Grenada. The parties went to arbitration to determine the value of WRB’s shares, which the government was contractually required to repurchase. A ruling was handed down in March 2020 by the ICSID ordering the government of Grenada to pay WRB over $74 million (200 million Eastern Caribbean dollars) to repurchase WRB’s majority shareholding interest in GRENLEC.
There is no history of extrajudicial action against foreign investors.
International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
In the event of an investment dispute between two foreign parties, between a foreign investor(s) and Grenadian parties, between Grenadian partners, or between investors and the government of Grenada, Grenadian law mandates that the parties shall first seek to settle their differences through consultation or mediation. In the event that the parties fail to resolve the matter, they may then submit their dispute to arbitration; file a lawsuit in Grenadian courts; invoke the jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice; or adopt such other procedures as provided for in the Articles of Association of the investment enterprise.
There is no government interference in the court system. Grenada participates in a court-connected mediation mechanism that can be accessed through the Mediation Centre. This Centre was established by the statutory provisions of the Practice Direction Act No.1 of 2003. It extends court-connected mediation to all member states of the OECS and allows for civil actions filed in court to be referred to mediation. Through this system, parties can utilize alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, including mediation, if the court deems them to be appropriate mechanisms for resolving the case.
Court-connected mediation, however, cannot be used in family proceedings, insolvency (including winding up of companies), non-contentious probate proceedings, proceedings when the High Court is acting as a prize court, and any other proceeding in the Supreme Court.
Grenada ranked 168 out of 190 for ease of resolving insolvency in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report for 2019, the same ranking it received in 2018.
Chapter 27 of the Bankruptcy Act (Amended by Act No. 10 of 1990) makes provisions for all aspects of bankruptcy. This was one of the laws recently amended under the new investment regime to modernize the law relating to bankruptcy and insolvency of individuals and companies.
Part III of this Act sets out what constitutes bankruptcy and the procedure for creditors to apply to the High Court for a bankruptcy order against a debtor and the appointment of a trustee in bankruptcy. There are also provisions for the court to appoint an interim receiver pending the outcome of the application for a bankruptcy order.
Part III also has provision for a process whereby an insolvent person, with leave of the court, may make an assignment of the insolvent person’s property for the general benefit of creditors of the insolvent person.
The High Court exercises exclusive jurisdiction in matters related to bankruptcy.
4. Industrial Policies
Grenada provides a legal package of benefits and concessions for specific investment activities. Incentives include tax waivers, import duty exemptions, repatriation of profits, and withholding tax exemptions.
Trade-related incentives are notified under Article 25 and Article 27 of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. Concessions are available under the Income Tax Act, the Common External Tariff (SRO 42/09), the Property Transfer Act, the Petrol Tax Act, and the Customer Service Charge Act.
Fiscal incentives include:
100 percent investment allowances up to 15 years
50-100 percent property transfer tax waivers
50-100 percent withholding tax waivers
Tax credits of 150 percent for training, research and development
Waiver of VAT on importation of capital goods
Tax exemptions and waiver of duties on building materials
Non-fiscal incentives include:
Equal treatment of all investors regardless of nationality or residence
Conversion into freely convertible currency
No discrimination among foreign investors
Repatriation of profits allowed
Other incentives include accelerated depreciation (10 percent on physical plant and machinery; 2 percent on industrial buildings); investment allowance (100 percent write-off on total investment); carry forward of losses for three years; reductions in the property transfer tax; and 100 percent relief from customs duties on physical plant, equipment, and raw materials. Certain incentives may be linked to the site of investment, the number of persons employed, or other factors.
There was no instance where Grenada needed to review an approved investor for non-compliance with incentive requirements, and Grenada does not have a practice of issuing guarantees or jointly financing foreign direct investment projects.
Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
There are no foreign trade zones or free ports in Grenada. However, there are various companies which offer duty free shopping for travelling customers.
Performance and Data Localization Requirements
CARICOM investors are accorded Rights of Establishment, while other foreign investors are required to obtain work permits and alien landholding licenses to invest in property.
The application fee for a work permit is $37 (100 Eastern Caribbean dollars) payable to the Work Permit Division of the Ministry of Labor. Along with the completed application form, applicants must also submit four passport-sized photos, a police certificate of character from their country, certificates of qualification, and a letter of intention. In addition, investors will need a character reference from a reputable person/former employer, a copy of the passport page indicating the last date of arrival in Grenada, a business registration certificate, company stamp, National Insurance Scheme compliance certificate, and recent tax compliance and VAT receipts.
The approval process takes two to three weeks, longer if there are questions, and is valid for one year. U.S. investors and workers are required to pay $1,111 (3,000 Eastern Caribbean dollars) per year for renewal.
There is no policy of “forced localization” of data storage and Grenada does not pressure international information and communications technology providers to provide source code or encryption keys. The OECS and other stakeholders have begun to develop draft model laws on electronic regimes. Laws specific to data storage and protection have not yet made it onto the national legislative agenda.
There are no measures to prevent or impede companies from transmitting customer or business-related data outside the country. There are no performance requirements. Investment incentives are applied uniformly to domestic and foreign investors on a case-by-case basis.
There is no requirement for foreign IT providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to encryption. There are no measures or draft measures that restrict companies from freely transmitting customer or other business-related data outside the economy/country’s territory.
5. Protection of Property Rights
The Aliens Landholding Regulation Act No. 29 of 1968 (last amended in 2009) is the primary legislative instrument governing the right to private ownership by non-citizens. Investors may purchase or lease privately owned land and dispose of, or transfer, interests in the land under the Act. Investors may hold state lands by grant or lease from the state.
The 2011 appointment of a registrar who focuses specifically on property has reduced the time needed to transfer property in Grenada by almost half.
Before a deed is issued, there is a title search on the previous owner, followed by conveyance, and the registering of the property to a new owner. A clear title must first be identified before the process moves forward. Once the landholder possesses a deed, the property remains legally theirs, occupied or not, until the deed is signed over to someone else.
Grenada ranked 147 out of 190 for the ease of registering property on the World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business Report.
Intellectual Property Rights
The Patents Act (Cap. 227 of the Consolidated Laws of Grenada) or the Trade Marks Act (Cap. 284 of the Consolidated Laws of Grenada), or the Copyright Act Cap. 32 of 1988 (Cap. 67 of the Consolidated Laws of Grenada) guarantees the intellectual property rights of investors and investment enterprises e.g. patents, trademarks, brand names, and copyrighted materials in printed, recorded, or electronic formats. Grenada is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Paris Convention, the Berne Convention, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
Domestic legislation regarding intellectual property protection has not been fully amended to bring it in line with the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Agreement. However, updates to existing legislation are currently being drafted and reviewed.
The Trademarks Act No. 1 of 2012 with Trademarks Regulations SRO. No. 18 of 2012 are in force. The 2012 Trademarks Act repealed and replaced the United Kingdom Trademarks Act, Cap 284 of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada. The re-registration of UK Trademarks is no longer applicable.
The Registration of United Kingdom patents is still in force, although archaic. In accordance with section 2 of the Patents Act, any person being the grantee of a patent in the United Kingdom or any person deriving right from such grantee may apply within three years from the date of issue of the patent in in the UK to have it registered in Grenada.
Patent Act Cap 227 of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada is not TRIPS compliant. The Patent Act No. 16 of 2011 has been enacted but to date is not implemented due to its outstanding Regulations. The implementation of the Patent Act is a priority for 2020.
The Copyright Act No. 21 of 2011 is in force. In accordance with Berne Convention, there is no existing formal system of registration of copyrighted works. There are current discussions with WIPO, in conjunction with the national intellectual property offices in the region, to consider a voluntary system of registration for copyrighted works.
Geographic Indication Bill
The geographic indication bills have been drafted, and their enactment is a priority for 2020. However, it is important to note that the Trademarks Act makes provision for registration of collective marks in the absence of a geographic indication act.
Industrial Designs Bill
The Industrial Design Bill is a work in progress, and its enactment, according to the Office of Corporate Affairs, is a priority for 2020-2021. Once these outstanding matters have been addressed, Grenada’s protection of intellectual property rights will be fully consistent with TRIPs, and there will be stronger regulations for the protection of intellectual property rights.
Administration of intellectual property laws in Grenada is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Legal Affairs. The Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO) is currently responsible for registration of trademarks, re-registration of UK patents, and all other intellectual property matters in accordance with the relevant Acts, once implemented.
There are no reports of any current or past prosecutions of IPR violations. Additionally, Grenada is not listed in USTR’s Special 301 report or in the 2019 notorious market report.
Grenada possesses a robust legislative and policy framework that facilitates free flow of financial resources. Its currency, the Eastern Caribbean dollar, has a fixed exchange rate established by the regional Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). Foreign employees of investment enterprises and their families may repatriate their earnings after paying personal income tax and all other taxes due. The government of Grenada encourages foreign investors to seek investment capital from financial institutions chartered outside Grenada due to the short domestic supply of capital. Foreign investors are more likely to tap local financial markets for working capital.
The private sector has access to the limited number of credit instruments. Grenadian stocks are traded on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange, whose limited liquidity may pose difficulties in conducting transactions.
Money and Banking System
The financial services sector in Grenada is regulated by two entities: The ECCB and the Grenada Authority for Regulation of the Financial Industry (GARFIN). The ECCB regulates the banking system. GARFIN oversees non-banking financial institutions through a regulatory system that encourages and facilitates portfolio investment. The estimated total assets of the largest banks are $1.03 billion. Information on the percentage of non-performing assets is not available. Grenada has not experienced cross-shareholding or hostile takeovers.
Foreign banks or branches can establish operations in Grenada subject to prudential measures and regulations governed by the ECCB. For the requirements and procedures, foreign banks can refer to the following website: https://www.eccb-centralbank.org/p/grenada-1
There is correspondent banking available with all licensed commercial banks. No correspondent banking relationships have been lost in the past three years, nor are there any correspondent banking relationships currently in jeopardy. There are no restrictions on a foreigner’s ability to establish a bank account.
In addition to the banking sector, there are alternative financial services provided through credit unions. GARFIN regulates credit unions.
Foreign Exchange and Remittances
Grenada’s currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, issued by the ECCB located in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The exchange rate is also determined by the ECCB. The Eastern Caribbean dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar at 2.7, adding to the stability of trade and investment in Grenada.
There are no restrictions or limitations placed on foreign investors in converting, transferring, or repatriating funds associated with investment. Funds associated with any form of investment can be freely converted into several currencies including U.S. dollar, pound sterling, Canadian dollar, and Euros. However, banks reserve the right to delay transactions if deemed suspicious or outside the typical level of activity on the account.
There are no difficulties or delays regarding remittances and no proposed policy changes that would either tighten or relax access to foreign exchange for investment remittances.
Transfers of currency are protected by Article VII of the International Monetary Fund Articles of Agreement. Grenada is also a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force.
Sovereign Wealth Funds
Grenada does not have a sovereign wealth fund.
7. State-Owned Enterprises
Grenadian state-owned enterprises are legislatively established by acts of Parliament. These enterprises all have boards of directors appointed by the government and is answerable to the relevant ministries. Twenty-five of 28 authorized state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are operational. They secure credit on commercial terms from commercial banks. SOEs submit annual reports to the Government Audit Department and are subject to audits shared with their parent ministries. SOEs manage transportation infrastructure (ports and airports), housing, education, hospitals, cement production, investment promotion, and small business development, among other functions. Generally, where they compete with the private sector, they do so on an equal basis.
Grenada, like its neighbors, acknowledges the OECD guidelines. Corporate governance of SOEs is established and regulated by founding statutes. Local courts show no favoritism toward SOEs in the adjudication of investment disputes.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR), interchangeably used with responsible business conduct, is a concept that was introduced to Grenada relatively recently by multinational and regional corporations. Local businesses are slowly incorporating this principle into their operations.
Some social responsibility initiatives undertaken by the private sector and non-governmental organizations include education programs, fitness programs, sporting activities, and cultural events. These are predominantly supported by the telecommunication companies Digicel and LIME. There is also a recent push towards environmentally friendly business practices and development projects.
While firms that promote CSR are more favorably viewed by the community, there is little familiarity with international CSR standards. Activities are deemed to be responsible business conduct if they are lawful, not a threat to national security, and not detrimental to the environment, health, and culture of the Grenadian people. Other than this being a requirement for any company local or international operating in Grenada, CSR is not built into the laws governing the operations of a company.
There have been no high profile, controversial instances of private sector impact on human rights or resolution of such cases in the recent past.
Grenada effectively and fairly enforces domestic laws in relation to human rights, labor rights, consumer protection, environmental protection, and other laws/regulations intended to protect individuals from adverse business impacts. Local labor unions play a role in promoting and monitoring responsible business conduct.
Grenada is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. In 2013, parliament passed the Integrity in Public Life Act (Act No.24 of 2013), the country’s first anticorruption bill. It requires that all public servants report their income and assets to the independent Integrity Commission for review.
The Ombudsman Act of 2007 established the Office of Ombudsman. The country’s first Ombudsman since independence was appointed in September 2009. The Office aims to provide effective service, handle complaints in a timely manner, and ensure the highest level of confidentiality and impartiality.
In 2018, the Ombudsman received 64 complaints, compared to 40 in 2017. Of the 64 complaints, 10 were closed, 26 are ongoing, advice was given for 24, two were discontinued, and two were outside the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction. The Royal Grenada Police Force was the subject of the highest number of complaints, totaling 14 compared to seven in 2017. Of those fourteen, three cases were resolved, six cases are ongoing, and advice was given in five cases.
Bribery is illegal in Grenada, and Grenadian officials take bribery allegations seriously. The Integrity in Public Life Commission monitors and verifies disclosures, although disclosures are not made public except in court. According to the provisions of the act, failure to file a disclosure should be noted in the Official Gazette. If the office holder in question fails to file in response to this notification, the commission can seek a court order to enforce compliance. For the most part, the enforcement of these laws and procedures is effective and they are applied in a non-discriminatory manner.
Grenada is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The country accepted and acknowledged the UN Convention against Corruption but has not yet signed or ratified it.
U.S. firms have not identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI in Grenada.
Resources to Report Corruption
Contacts at the government agency or agencies that are responsible for combating corruption:
Superintendent of Police/Head of FIU
Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)
The Carenage, St. George’s, Grenada
(473) 435-2373 / 2374 email@example.com
Office of the Ombudsman
Tanteen, St. George’s, Grenada
(473) 435-9315 firstname.lastname@example.org
Grenada has a stable parliamentary representative democracy free from political violence.
11. Labor Policies and Practices
Grenada signed and ratified all the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) undertakings and enshrined these rights into its labor laws, including the Labor Relations Act No.1 of 1999 and the Employment Act No. 1 of 1999. Grenadian law protects the right of workers to be represented by a trade union of their choice.
Employers are generally expected to recognize a union that represents the majority of workers but are not obligated to recognize a minority union formed by some employees if most of the workforce does not belong to said union. In accordance with the Trade Union Recognition Act No 29 of 1979 (Cap. 325 of the Consolidated Laws of Grenada), investors shall grant union representation at any site of employment if most of their employees indicate the desire for union representation. Investment enterprises are also required to contribute to the social insurance and welfare programs for their workers in accordance with the National Insurance Act.
Regarding essential services, the Ministry of Labor in its discretion may refer the disputes to compulsory arbitration. Essential services include employees of utility companies; public health and protection sectors, including sanitation; and airport, seaport, and dock services.
Grenada does not restrict the legal activities of trade unions. Most of the workforce is unionized, and the labor relations atmosphere on the island is generally stable.
Article 32 of the Employment Act prohibits employment of children under the age of 16 except for temporary holiday employment. Part 7 of the Employment Act provides for the protection and regulation of wages, and article 52 mandates the minimum wage. Minimum wage schedules are set by occupation.
Preliminary results from the 2018 Labor Force Survey indicated that the unemployment rate fell by 2.7 percent, moving from 23.6 percent in December 2017 to 20.9 percent in June 2018. The first quarter of the 2019 Labor Force Survey indicated that the unemployment rate fell to 15.2 percent.
There have been strikes in the past year, but none posed an investment risk and negotiations towards a satisfactory resolution continue. There are no gaps in compliance in law or practice with international labor standards that may pose a reputational risk to investors. No potential gaps were identified in law or in practice with international standards by the ILO.
No new labor-related laws or regulations were enacted during the last year, and no bills are pending. While there was a revision to the Labor Code in 2016, this revision was not enacted due to employers’ concerns.
12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Other Investment Insurance Programs
Grenada acceded to the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in 1968, which has since transitioned to become the U.S International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). This agreement remains in force and allows for DFC activities in Grenada. Through investment guarantees issued by the U.S. government and other programs, DFC seeks to encourage private investments by providing finance solutions and political risk insurance.
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)