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. The presence of a comprehensive investment incentive regime, stable economy, existing trade agreements, responsive investment promotion experts, and a robust citizenship by investment program contributes to a healthy and attractive investment climate. However, Grenada’s tourism-driven economy was severely impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed unparalleled challenges for Grenada by creating macroeconomic instability that threatened to undermine years of consecutive socio-economic progress since 2013. The government’s main revenue earners – tourism and international education — were severely impacted and continue to struggle amidst efforts to revive the economy. Growth in construction, private sector projects, and the country’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program is fueling economic activity and forecasted to drive recovery in 2022. Following a 13.8 percent decline in growth during 2020, Grenada experienced a slower-than-expected real GDP growth of 4.8 percent compared to an initial projection of 6 percent. Grenada’s recovery is driven by growth in several sectors including construction (22.8 percent), agriculture (12.5 percent), wholesale and retail (4.4 percent), and financial intermediation (3.5 percent). Tourism and private tertiary education, which once accounted for more than 60 percent of GDP, continues to lag, but the government hopes for an uptick as students return to classes and tourists resume travel.
Government finances remain significantly lower than the 2019 pre-pandemic era, but 2021 saw some positive developments compared to 2020. Revenue collection in 2021 surpassed that of 2020 but remained below 2019 performance. Grenada continues to depend on the country’s citizenship by investment program as a significant source of revenue generation. At the end of October 2020, the program received 437 applications compared to 303 the previous year. By the end of 2021 the CBI program earned more than $55.4 million in revenue – a 40 percent increase compared to the previous year. The debt-to-GDP ratio fell from 108 percent in 2013 to just under 60 percent by the end of 2020. Due to an increase in borrowing and long-term concessionary loans to finance the country’s COVID response, the debt to GDP ratio currently stands at 69 percent.
The government of Grenada has a strong interest in climate resilient initiatives, renewable energy, and developing the blue economy (broadly defined as the sustainable, environmentally sensitive use of ocean resources for economic growth and job creation). Other international investments include projects in construction, manufacturing, retail, duty free outlets, and agriculture. Parliament continues to review legislature governing value added tax, property transfer tax, investment, excise tax, customs (service charge), and bankruptcy and insolvency. The government has an innovative investment incentives regime which assists with streamlining bureaucratic and legal processes to increase the attractiveness of FDI and improve the ease of doing business in Grenada. This regime ensures transparency, equitable treatment of investors, and adherence to the rule of law, thus bolstering Grenada’s marketability as an investor-friendly climate.
1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
Policies Toward Foreign Direct Investment
Grenada employs a liberal approach to foreign direct investment (FDI) and actively promotes foreign investment into the country.
The government of Grenada identified five priority sectors for investment:
Tourism and hospitality services
Education and health services
Information and communication technology
The Grenada Investment Development Corporation (GIDC) is the country’s investment promotion agency. It was established in 1985 to stimulate, facilitate, and encourage the creation and development of industry.
The GIDC is a “one-stop shop” offering:
Investment and trade information
Investment facilitation and aftercare
Entrepreneurial/business skills training
Small business support services
To promote FDI, the GIDC adopts a targeted approach to promote investment opportunities, provides investor facilitation and entrepreneurial development services, and advocates for a supportive environment for investors to develop and grow businesses, trade, and industries.
Investment retention is a priority in Grenada and is maintained through ongoing dialogue with investors facilitated by the GIDC.
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. In addition, the sale of such shares or real estate to non-nationals will attract a property transfer tax of 15 percent payable by the seller if the seller is a non-Grenadian. Foreign investors employed in Grenada are required to obtain a work permit, renewable annually. U.S. investors must pay a fee of USD $1,111 or XCD $3,000 for work permits. The renewal fee varies based on the investor’s country of citizenship.
There are no limits on foreign ownership or control, except for enterprises deemed prejudicial to national security, the environment, public health, or national culture, or which contravene the laws of Grenada. Grenada has accepted but not yet implemented regional anti-competition obligations. 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 mechanism for inbound foreign investment. Inbound investment is screened and approved by the Grenada Investment Development Corporation. GIDC will review the submitted proposal and advise on the requirements and processes for doing business in Grenada. Depending on the type of investment they will work with the respective ministries. Post is unaware of any notable public statements by government officials or private sector representatives about the screening mechanism.
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 is also in compliance with WTO regulations, the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the Agreement between the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) and the EU.
The incentives regime enacted in 2016 grants incentives to ensure that all new tax exemptions are codified, restricts discretionary exemptions, and requires that the beneficiaries of exemptions file appropriate tax returns and comply with tax requirements. It also sets streamlined, simple, and non-discretionary systems/processes for the granting of incentives. The Customs and Inland Revenue Departments (CIRD) administer exemptions through a clearly defined rule-based system in contrast with past incentive schemes that required each case to be approved at the cabinet level.
Under this regime, the CIRD grants incentives to projects within the priority sectors for investment. These priority sectors 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 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, CIRD grants different levels of incentives in a transparent, predictable, and non-discriminatory manner.
In the past three years, the government was not subject to third-party investment policy reviews through multilateral organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the WTO, and the UN Conference on Trade and Development.
In the past five years, Post is unaware of any civil society organization, including those based in Grenada or in third countries, that provided useful reviews of investment policy-related concerns.
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. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, to which Grenada is a party, includes a chapter on service agreements under the European Partnership Agreement (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 and Taxation Treaties
Bilateral Investment Treaties: Bilateral Investment Treaties 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 Chaguaramas in 1973 to promote economic integration and development among its 15 member states. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas later established the CARICOM Single Market and Economy 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.
The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), an initiative created by the United States with the Caribbean and Central America, also provides trade and tariff benefits.
Grenada, under the umbrella of CARICOM, is reviewing trade agreements with Cuba and the Dominican Republic to negotiate new market access and opportunities.
In 2018, Grenada signed a bilateral Open Skies Agreement with the United States. It is intended to liberalize the aviation market, remove various restrictions, increase capacity and number of routes, and improve the ease of travel to and from Grenada.
Bilateral or Multilateral Taxation Treaties and Agreements: Grenada passed legislation to 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 more than XCD $50,000, approximately USD $18,518, 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 communicates directly with the IRS. The Comptroller mandates 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 [XCD] $100,000.”
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. Grenada is a member of the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, and the government is party to the Inclusive Framework’s October 2021 deal on the two-pillar solution to global tax challenges, including a global minimum corporate tax.
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 to 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 negotiation.
Grenada also seeks to promote investment by consulting with interested parties, simplifying and codifying legislation, using plain language drafting, developing registers of existing and proposed regulation, expanding 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 or impede investment. Bureaucratic procedures, including those for licenses and permits, are sufficiently streamlined and transparent. However, local authorities recognize that the implementation of procedures can sometimes be slow and inefficient.
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.
Depending on the type of investment, government will require companies’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure. Not only does this facilitate transparency, but also ensures corporate responsibility and protection of the country’s social and environmental resources.
Draft bills, particularly those that directly impact the public, often go through a public consultation process to address any concerns and allow for revision before being brought before cabinet and passed into law.
No new regulatory systems and enforcement reforms have been announced since the last ICS report.
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 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 CARICOM Single Market Economy, which adheres to the international norms and regulatory standards outlined by the WTO. Also, 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 the 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 Saint Lucia.
The Privy Council serves as Grenada’s final Court of Appeal. However, the Caribbean Court of Justice 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, however the process can be slow. 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 Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program.
In 2016 parliament passed its most recent suite of legislative changes to enhance the investment climate in Grenada. Changes were made to the following Acts:
Value Added Tax Amendment Act – Provides for VAT exemptions for qualifying investments in priority sectors.
Excise Tax Amendment Act – Provides for tax incentives for investors engaged in manufacturing and investors entitled to conditional duties exemptions for motor vehicles.
Property Transfer Tax Amendment Act – Establishes more favorable rates of property transfer tax for investors.
Customs Service Charge Amendment Act – Removes 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– Provides for specified circumstances under which the Minister of Finance may make regulations under the Principal Act.
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Amendment Act – Modernizes the law relating to bankruptcy and insolvency of individuals and companies. 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 – Provides for a waiver on withholding tax applicable on specified types of repatriated funds relating to investors engaged in tourism accommodation or health and wellness.
The GIDC and the Inland Revenue and Customs Department of Grenada work 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: http://grenadaidc.com/
Competition and Antitrust Laws
There are no competition laws in Grenada. A number of CARICOM and Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) proposals on competition are under consideration to strengthen market regimes under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. 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 2016, parliament repealed the 1994 Electricity Supply Act and opened the market to potential investors who will commit to transition to alternative sources of power generation, decreasing costs, reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels, and improving energy efficiency. This repealed the exclusive license that was granted to the country’s sole electricity provider Grenada Electricity Services (GRENLEC) and its majority shareholder, U.S.-owned WRB Enterprises. This regulatory change triggered a clause in the Share Purchase Agreement requiring Grenada to repurchase the GRENLEC shares from WRB. WRB filed a request for arbitration with ICSID, and the Grenada government was ordered to pay $74 million to the U.S. investors following a March 2020 ruling. A negotiated sum of $63 million was paid to WRB Enterprises in December 2020.
In the past, Grenadian citizens had their lands expropriated to permit foreign investments but were compensated for such actions, typically at the market value. There are no sectors at greater risk of expropriation, and there are no laws requiring local ownership. All expropriations have been subject to due process.
ICSID Convention and New York Convention
Grenada is a signatory and contracting member of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes 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
There was an investment dispute between the government of Grenada and a U.S.-owned company, which was the majority shareholder in Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. In 2016, parliament repealed the 1994 Electricity Supply Act and opened the market to potential investors, which put an end to the U.S. company’s 80-year exclusive license. This triggered a clause in the share purchase agreement requiring Grenada to repurchase the shares. The case was brought to arbitration before ICSID. On March 19, 2020, ICSID ruled in favor of the U.S. company. Grenada was ordered to pay $74 million for the shares, and a negotiated $63 million was paid in December 2020. 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. If 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 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.
However, court-connected mediation cannot be used in family proceedings, insolvency, non-contentious probate proceedings, proceedings when the High Court is acting as a prize court, and any other proceeding in the Supreme Court.
The Bankruptcy Act makes provisions for all aspects of bankruptcy and sets out procedures 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 provisions for the court to appoint an interim receiver pending the outcome of the application for a bankruptcy order. It also includes provisions 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, including for green energy investments. These investment incentives also apply to businesses owned by underrepresented investors such as women.
Energy is a priority sector for investment in Grenada. This also includes any business activity that involves the production of energy, including fuel extraction, renewables, refining and distribution. The government offers the following investment incentives for the energy sector:
Capital Investment Allowance
100 percent of the qualifying capital expenditure (EC$3 million and over) will be written off against taxable income for a period not exceeding 15 years.
Customs Duties Exemptions on the following:
Building materials, fixtures and furnishings, networking elements and computer hardware and software.
Production machinery, equipment and spare parts for approved machinery and equipment for use in operations.
50-100 percent relief from import duties and taxes on a maximum of four to six commercial vehicles.
Value Added Tax (VAT) Suspension/Exemption
Applied to capital goods imported for the establishment of the operation.
Property Transfer Tax Waivers
50 -100 percent (based on qualifying investment) property transfer tax waivers on the acquisition of property.
Carry forward of losses
100 percent of losses incurred in any one year be carried forward for six years and offset against 100 percent of taxable income.
Tax credit for Training: Training allowance (deductible) at the rate of 150 percent on the qualifying cost of training not exceeding EC$5000 per employee trained of taxable income and to include the following:
The cost of hiring an instructor to conduct the training
Tuition paid to an educational or other institution offering training
A stipend paid to the individual being trained to cover subsistence during the training period but not in excess of two months for a particular individual
There was no instance where Grenada needed to review an approved investor for non-compliance with incentive requirements. 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.
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 USD $37/XCD $100 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 USD $1,111 or XCD $3,000 per year for renewal. The local government does not mandate local employment but encourages it.
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.
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, which provides the latest statistics available.
Intellectual Property Rights
The Patents Act (Cap. 227 of the Consolidated Laws of Grenada) or the Trademarks 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. In April 2021 the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, of which Grenada is a member, signed a MOU with the WIPO. This will help strengthen the regional legal and regulatory architecture necessary to support the protection and monetization of intangible assets and other forms of intellectual property in the region.
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.
Trademarks are regulated by the Trademarks Act of 2012.
The Registration of United Kingdom Patents Act Cap 283 of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada is still in force, although outdated. In accordance with the 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.
The Patent Act Cap 227 of the Continuous Revised Laws of Grenada is not TRIPS compliant. Implementation of the Patent Act No. 16 of 2011 has been slow due to the lack of implementing regulations, but the government has indicated that this a priority.
The Copyright Act No. 21 of 2011 is in force. In accordance with the Berne Convention, there is no existing formal system of registration of copyrighted works. There are current discussions with WIPO, in conjunction with the 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 but not yet enacted. The 2012 Trademarks Act provides 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. According to the Office of Corporate Affairs, its enactment is a priority.
Administration of intellectual property laws in Grenada is the responsibility of the Ministry of Legal Affairs. The Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO) is currently responsible for the registration of trademarks, re-registration of UK patents, and all other IP matters.
Post is unaware of any current or past prosecutions of IPR violations. Grenada is not listed in USTR’s Special 301 report or in the 2020 notorious market report.
Grenada possesses a robust legislative and policy framework that facilitates the 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 government, local banks, and the ECCB respect IMF Article VIII by refraining from restrictions on payments and transfers for current international transactions.
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 industry 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 USD $1.03 billion. Information on the percentage of non-performing assets is not available. Grenada has not experienced cross-shareholding or hostile takeovers. As of November 30, 2020, commercial banks in Grenada deferred debt service on 4,069 commercial bank loans due to job losses and a reduction in salaries caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the second highest number of deferrals in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
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. 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. The national currency rate does not fluctuate.
There are no restrictions or limitations placed on foreign investors to convert, transfer, or repatriate funds associated with investments. Funds associated with any form of investment can be freely converted. 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 (SOEs) are legislatively established by acts of Parliament. These enterprises all have boards of directors appointed by the government and answerable to the relevant ministries. Twenty-five of the 28 authorized 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 endeavors. These are predominantly implemented by the telecommunication companies Digicel and LIME, along with financial institutions. 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 operating in Grenada, CSR is not built into the laws governing the operations of a company.
There has been no high profile, controversial instances of private sector impact on human rights or resolution of such cases in the recent past. Grenada generally 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 uses private security companies but is not a signatory to The Montreux Document or the International Code of Conduct or Private Security Service Providers.
There are no alleged/reported human or labor rights concerns relating to responsible business conduct, that foreign businesses should be aware of, and neither has there been claims in the last five years by indigenous or other communities that a government entity improperly allocated land or natural resources, or arrests of and/or violence against environmental defenders.
Climate adaptation and resilience is a priority for the government of Grenada. Climate Change priority focus areas for adaptation are driven by Grenada’s Climate Change Policy, Grenada’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) 2017-2021 and Integrated Coastal Zone Management Policy. The NAP will be updated in 2022. Priorities for climate mitigation are identified in the 2020 Grenada Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which is available at the Government of Grenada Climate Finance Portal: https://climatefinance.gov.gd/. Climate adaptation priorities for the government of Grenada include:
Ecosystem Resilience, Ecosystem Based Adaptation (NAP page 43-48) is one focus area with emphasis on protected area management and ecosystem-based adaptation approaches.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management (NAP page 49-52), with emphasis on the development of management plans to implement the recently passed Integrated Coastal Zone Act (2019).
Monitoring, reporting and verification for reporting to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Vulnerability and risk assessment of adaptation sectors/ program areas e.g., Tourism and Fisheries.
Infrastructure resilience to slow onset events and Disaster Risk Reduction.
Water resilience with emphasis on watershed resilience.
Climate proofing human health.
Implementation of Grenada’s NDCs.
Synergizing reporting to address the three Rio conventions and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Integrating Gender considerations into climate resilience action across program areas in the NAP and NDCs.
Accessing climate finance and supporting community led resilience action.
There are several challenges affecting climate resilience in Grenada. These include coastal erosion, flooding of low-lying areas, saltwater intrusion into fresh-water wells, limited capacity to access finance among non-governmental actors, and data capture and analysis challenges for policy decision making and reporting obligations. Environmental challenges to climate resilience include climate change impacts on the environment, alien invasive species, over exploitation of natural capital, and pollution.
Grenada is aggressively pursuing its commitment through its revised NDCs to reduce its emissions by 40 percent of its pre-2010 level by the year 2030. With the electricity and transportation sectors accounting for over 70 percent of Grenada’s carbon footprint, government is striving to reach 100 percent of electricity generation through renewable energy, and 20 percent of vehicles being powered by renewable energy sources by the 2030 deadline. Grenada’s new climate change adaptation strategy will not only address policy issues, but also the development of more resilient physical infrastructure. The climate change adaptation strategy will also speak to the designation of marine protected areas, sustainable forest management, and ecosystem management plans in an effort to achieve the 2030 outcomes.
Grenada is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. The Integrity in Public Life Act (Act No.24 of 2013) requires that all public servants report their income and assets to the independent Integrity Commission for review. The Integrity in Public Life Commission monitors and verifies disclosures, although disclosures are not made public except in court. 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.
The Office of the Ombudsman received 29 complaints in 2020, compared to 59 in 2019 and 64 in 2018. Of the 29 complaints, one was closed, 12 are ongoing, 7 received advice/referrals, and 9 were outside the jurisdiction of the ombudsman. Private entities received the highest number of complaints totaling 9, followed by the Ministry of Labor with 6. Of the 9 complaints, advice/referrals were given to 3, and 6 were beyond the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman. Of the 6 complaints against the Ministry of Labor, 3 are ongoing, 2 received advice/referrals and1 was beyond the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.
Bribery is illegal in Grenada. For the most part, the enforcement of anti-bribery laws and procedures is effective and non-discriminatory.
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
Assistant Superintendent of Police/Head of FIUFinancial Intelligence Unit (FIU)
The Carenage, St. George’s, Grenada
(473) 435-2373 / 2374 email@example.com
Grenada has a stable parliamentary representative democracy free from political violence. There have been no examples over the past ten years of damage to projects and/or installations.
11. Labor Policies and Practices
Grenada signed and ratified all the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) recommendations 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 most workers but are not obligated to recognize a minority union if most of the workforce does not belong to said union. In accordance with the Trade Union Recognition Act No 29 of 1979, investors shall grant union representation at any site of employment if most 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.
The Ministry of Labor may refer disputes regarding workers in essential services to compulsory arbitration. Essential services include employees of utility companies, public health, and protection sectors, including sanitation, airport, seaport, and dock services.
Grenada does not restrict the legal activities of trade unions. Most of the workforce is unionized, and labor relations are 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. In the second quarter of 2020, the unemployment rate was 28.4 percent compared to 15.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2019. In 2020, more than 14,000 jobs were lost from a labor force of approximately 50,000 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the tourism sector.
There have been strikes in the past year, but none posed an investment risk, and negotiations toward 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.
The government does not legally define the informal sector and there is no data on the number or percentage of persons in this sector. Street vendors, agricultural workers, farmers, construction workers, and domestic workers are often considered small/micro businesses and were protected by wage, hour, and occupational safety and health laws.
12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
Grenada acceded to the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in 1968. The 2018 Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act created the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), consolidating the functions of OPIC and the former Development Credit Authority of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Through investment guarantees issued by the U.S. government and other programs, the DFC seeks to encourage private investments in projects that will contribute to the development of Grenada’s economic resources and productive capacities.
Grenada is eligible for assistance via the Clean Energy Finance Facility for the Caribbean and Central America, a financing mechanism supported by the DFC, USAID, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and the U.S. Department of State. For more on this program, see: https://www.dfc.gov/.
13. Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
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
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD)