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According to Central Bank of Barbados preliminary figures for 2022, the Barbados economy stood at $5.7 billion, making it the largest economy in the Eastern Caribbean. The economy has seen some recovery over the last two years particularly in the tourism sector. Like most of the Eastern Caribbean, the country continues to grapple with supply-chain delays and surging consumer food and fuel prices exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine. As of May 2023, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast the Barbadian economy to grow by 4.9% by the end of 2023.

After exiting the IMF Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) program at the end of 2022, the country renewed discussions to re-enter a new arrangement with the Fund in early 2023. The near 40-million-dollar program known as BERT 2022 will be supported by the Extended Fund Facility and will be implemented under the Resilience and Sustainability Facility Arrangement. The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF Executive Board, which is expected to consider past IMF reviews in June. This new arrangement is expected to introduce reforms for state-owned enterprises, improvements in tax, public procurement, and customs exemption frameworks, and public finance management. It is also expected to support climate resilience and green investment efforts.

The country’s services sector continues to hold the largest growth potential, especially in the areas of niche tourism, international financial services, information technology, global education services, health, and cultural services. The gradual decline of the sugar industry has opened land for other agricultural uses, niche manufacturing and agro- processing. The government has also identified renewable energy, life sciences, green and blue economy, and climate resilience projects as other top priorities. In 2021, Barbados joined the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) framework seeking to harmonize global corporate minimum tax rates at 15 percent.

Barbados bases its legal system on the British common law system. It does not have a bilateral investment agreement with the United States, but it does have a double-taxation treaty and a tax information exchange agreement.

In 2015, Barbados signed an intergovernmental agreement in observance of the United States’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), making it mandatory for banks in Barbados to report the banking information of U.S. citizens.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 29 of 180 
Global Innovation Index 2022 N/A 
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2021 $ 36.4 M 
World Bank GNI per capita 2021 $16, 900 M 

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

The Government of Barbados, through Invest Barbados, welcomes foreign direct investment (FDI) with the stated goals of creating jobs, earning foreign exchange, transferring technology, enhancing skills, and contributing to economic growth. In 2021, the government announced plans to focus on encouraging foreign direct investment in renewable energy, manufacturing, technology, and biogenetic engineering.

According to Invest Barbados, Barbados encourages investment in the following key sectors: niche tourism, international financial services, information technology, global education services, health, and cultural services. Opportunities in emerging sectors such as niche manufacturing, agro- processing, renewable energy, life sciences, and the green and blue economy also exist.

Through Invest Barbados, the government facilitates domestic and foreign private investment. Invest Barbados’ mandate is to actively promote Barbados as a desirable investment location, to provide advice, and to assist prospective investors. Invest Barbados also provides customized support for investors to assist with the expansion and sustainability of their initial investment. It also serves as the primary liaison with the government for existing investors. In 2021, the government announced plans to establish a Barbados Free Economic Zone to help attract foreign direct investment. More information is available on the Invest Barbados website: /.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Local laws do not place any limits on foreign control in Barbados. Nationals and non-nationals may establish and own private enterprises and private property in Barbados. These rights extend to the acquisition and disposition of interests in private enterprises.

No industries are closed to private enterprise, although the government reserves the right not to allow certain investments. Some activities, such as telecommunications, utilities, broadcasting, franchises, banking, and insurance require a government license. There are no quotas or other restrictions on foreign ownership of a local enterprise or participation in a joint venture.

In 2012, the government introduced a special entry permit for high net-worth individuals who wish to reside in Barbados while working remotely. Individuals must have one of the following to apply: a net worth of USD five million, property valued above USD two million, and skills of critical need to the development of the country. Applicants must generally be 60 years or older although special provisions can be made for applicants under 60 years of age. The program is administered by the Barbados Immigration Department.

As a response to the negative impact on the tourism sector by the Covid-19 pandemic, the government introduced the Barbados Welcome Stamp visa program in 2020, which allows eligible remote workers to apply for special residency status for up to one year. Under this program, the visa holder is exempt from local income taxes. The visa holder can also apply for an extension of the visa with the repayment of applicable fees. The program is administered through the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

In October 2022, the World Trade Organization (WTO) conducted a trade policy review of Barbados. The full report is available at . There have not been any investment policy reviews of Barbados by civil society organizations in the past five years.

Business Facilitation

Invest Barbados is the main investment promotion agency that attracts and facilitates foreign investment. Invest Barbados offers guidance and direction to new and established investors seeking to pursue investment opportunities in Barbados. The process is transparent and considers the size of capital investment as well as the economic impact of a proposed project.

Invest Barbados offers a website that is useful for navigating applicable laws, rules, procedures, and registration requirements for foreign investors. This is available at  . Invest Barbados’ iGuide website is an online guide that provides local and foreign investors with up-to-date information required to make certain investment decisions, including steps for setting up a business, opportunities for investment, labor and other business costs, and legal requirements, among other data. This is available at  .

The Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO) maintains an online e-registry filing service for matters pertaining to the Corporate Registry. It is available to registered agents, who are usually attorneys. Information is available at  . Investors interested in doing business in Barbados must register with the country’s Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO). In 2021, the Government of Barbados fully digitized the registration process and continues to upgrade all other services provided by CAIPO.

In general, when starting a business, companies retain an attorney to prepare relevant incorporation documents. The business must register with CAIPO, the Barbados Revenue Authority, the Customs and Excise Department, and any relevant sector-specific licensing agencies.

The Government of Barbados continues to facilitate programs and partnerships to assist entrepreneurs who are women and/or people with disabilities. The Government of Barbados remains committed to working with civil society and other organizations to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Outward Investment

While no incentives are offered, Barbados generally encourages local companies to invest in other countries, particularly within the Caribbean region. The government actively encourages local companies in Barbados to take advantage of export opportunities related to the country’s membership in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Export Barbados, formerly known as the Barbados Investment Development Corporation (BIDC), provides market development support for domestic companies seeking to enhance their export potential.

Barbados does not have a bilateral investment treaty with the United States, but it does have a double taxation treaty and a tax information exchange agreement. Barbados has bilateral investment treaties with Canada, China, Cuba, Germany, Italy, Mauritius, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK), and Venezuela. In addition to the United States, Barbados also has tax information exchange agreements with Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and South Africa. Bilateral investment treaties with Belgium-Luxembourg and Ghana are awaiting ratification. Barbados has a vast double taxation agreement network of 40 countries including Spain, Italy, the UK, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, China, Austria, Iceland, San Marino, Mexico, Panama, and Canada, with others awaiting ratification or signature. Barbados is a member of the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and 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.

Barbados is also party to the following:


The Treaty of Chaguaramas established CARICOM in 1973 to promote economic integration among its 15 member states. Investors operating in Barbados have preferential access to the entire CARICOM market. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishes the CSME, which permits the free movement of goods, capital, and labor among CARICOM states. CARICOM has bilateral agreements with Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. In 2013, CARICOM entered into a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States.

Caribbean Basin Initiative

The Caribbean Basin Initiative facilitates the economic development and export diversification of the Caribbean Basin economies. It encourages private sector initiatives by expanding foreign and domestic investment in non-traditional sectors, diversifying country economies, and expanding their imports, and it permits duty-free entry of eligible products manufactured or assembled in Barbados into the United States.

CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement

The Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) and the European Community signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in 2008. The overarching objectives of the EPA are to alleviate poverty, promote regional integration and economic cooperation, and foster the gradual integration of CARIFORUM states into the world economy by improving trade capacity and creating an investment-conducive environment. The Agreement promotes trade-related developments in areas such as competition, intellectual property, public procurement, the environment, and the protection of personal data.

CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement

The UK and CARIFORUM states signed an EPA in 2019, committing to trade continuity after Britain’s departure from the European Union. The CARIFORUM-UK EPA eliminates tariffs on all goods imported from CARIFORUM states into the UK, while those Caribbean states will continue to gradually cut import tariffs on most of the region’s imports from the UK.

Caribbean/Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN)

The Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN) is an economic and trade development assistance program for Commonwealth Caribbean countries. Through CARIBCAN, Canada provides duty-free access to its national market for most products originating in Commonwealth Caribbean countries.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Barbados’ legal framework establishes clear rules for foreign and domestic investors regarding tax, labor, environmental, health, and safety concerns. These regulations are in accord with international standards. The Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment; and Invest Barbados provide oversight aimed at ensuring the transparency of investment.

Rulemaking and regulatory authority rest with the bicameral parliament of the Government of Barbados. The House of Assembly consists of 30 members who are elected in single-seat constituencies. The Senate consists of 21 members who are appointed by the President. Responsibility for Senate appointments shifted in 2021 when Barbados removed the UK’s Queen Elizabeth as head of state and became a republic.

Foreign investment into Barbados is governed by a series of laws and implementing regulations. These laws and regulations are developed with the participation of relevant ministries, drafted by the Office of the Attorney General, and enforced by the relevant ministry or ministries.

Additional compliance supervision is delegated to specific agencies, by sector, as follows:

Banking and financial services – Central Bank of Barbados (CBB)

Insurance and non-banking financial services – Financial Services Commission (FSC)

International business – International Business Unit, Ministry of Energy and Business

Business incorporation and intellectual property – CAIPO

The Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment monitors investments to collect information for national statistics and reporting purposes.

All foreign businesses must be registered or incorporated through CAIPO and will be regulated by one of the other agencies depending on the nature of the business.

Although Barbados does not have formal legislation that guarantees access to information or freedom of expression, access to information is generally available. The government maintains a website and an information service to facilitate the dissemination of information such as government office directories and press releases. The government also maintains a parliamentary website at  where it posts legislation prior to parliamentary debate and live streams House sittings. The government budget is also available on this website.

Although some bills are not subject to public consultation, input from various stakeholder groups and agencies is enlisted during the initial drafting of legislation. Public awareness campaigns, through print and electronic media, are used to inform the public. Copies of regulations are circulated to stakeholders and are published in the Official Gazette after passage in parliament. The Official Gazette is available at .

Accounting, legal, and regulatory procedures are transparent. Publicly listed companies publish annual financial statements and changes in portfolio shareholdings, including share value. Service providers are required to adhere to international best practice standards including International Financial Reporting Standards, International Standards on Auditing, and International Public Sector Accounting Standards for government and public sector bodies.

They must also comply with the provisions of the Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Prevention and Control Act. Accounting professionals must engage in continuous professional development. The Corporate and Trust Service Providers Act regulates Barbados financial service providers. Failure to adhere to these laws and regulations may result in the revocation of a company’s business license and/or cancellation of work permit(s). The most recent Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Mutual Evaluation assessment found Barbados to be largely compliant. The government does not promote or require companies’ environmental, social, and governance disclosures.

The Office of the Ombudsman is established by the constitution to guard against abuses of power by government officers in the performance of their duties. The Office of the Ombudsman aims to provide quality service in an impartial and expeditious manner when investigating complaints by Barbadian nationals or residents who consider the conduct of a government body or official unreasonable, improper, inadequate, or unjust.

The Office of the Auditor General is also established by the constitution and is regulated by the Financial Administration and Audit Act. The Auditor General is responsible for the audit and inspection of all public accounts of the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Assembly, all government ministries, government departments, government-controlled entities, and statutory bodies. The Office of the Auditor General’s annual reports can be found on the Barbados Parliament website.

International Regulatory Considerations

The OECD recognized Barbados as largely compliant with international regulatory standards. Barbados is a signatory to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement, and the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Matters to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Sharing. In the international financial services sector, the government maintains regulatory oversight via the Central Bank of Barbados to prevent money laundering and tax evasion.

The Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) oversees a laboratory complex housing metrology, textile, engineering, and chemistry/microbiology laboratories. The primary functions of the BSNI include the preparation, promotion, and implementation of standards in all sectors of the economy, including the promotion of quality systems, quality control, and certification.

The Standards Act (2006) and the Weights and Measures Act (1977) and Regulations (1985) govern the work of the BNSI. As a signatory to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement to Technical Barriers to Trade, Barbados is obligated to harmonize all national standards through the BNSI to international norms to avoid creating technical barriers to trade.

Barbados ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in 2018. The agreement improves the speed and efficiency of border procedures, facilitates trade costs reduction, and enhances participation in the global value chain. In 2019, Barbados implemented the Automated System for Customs Data, which streamlined document compliance and inspections by port authorities.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Barbados’ legal system is based on the British common law. Modern corporate law is modeled on the Canadian Business Corporations Act. The Attorney General, the Chief Justice, junior judges, and magistrates administer justice in Barbados. The Supreme Court consists of the Court of Appeal and the High Court. The High Court hears criminal and civil (commercial) matters and makes determinations based on interpretation of the constitution.

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is the regional judicial tribunal. The CCJ has original jurisdiction to interpret and apply the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC). In 2005, Barbados became a full member of the CCJ, making the body its final court of appeal and original jurisdiction of the RTC.

The United States and Barbados are both parties to the WTO. The WTO Dispute Settlement Panel and Appellate Body resolve disputes over WTO agreements, while courts of appropriate jurisdiction in both countries resolve private disputes.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Invest Barbados’ foreign direct investment policy is to promote Barbados as a desirable investment location, to provide advice, and to assist prospective investors. The main laws concerning investment in Barbados are the Barbados International Business Promotion Act (2005), the Tourism Development Act (2005), and the Companies Act. There is also a framework of legislation that supports the jurisdiction as a global hub for business including insurance, shipping registration, and wealth management.

All proposals for investment concessions are reviewed by Invest Barbados to ensure proposed projects are consistent with the national interest and provide economic benefits to the country.

Invest Barbados provides complimentary “one-stop shop” facilitation services for investors to guide them through the investment process. It offers a website useful for navigating the laws, rules, procedures, and registration requirements for foreign investors: .

Competition and Antitrust Laws

Chapter 8 of the RTC outlines the competition policy applicable to CARICOM states. Member states are required to establish and maintain a national competition authority for facilitating the implementation of the rules of competition. At the CARICOM level, a regional Caribbean Competition Commission (CCC) applies the rules of competition. The CARICOM competition policy addresses anticompetitive business conduct such as agreements between enterprises, decisions by associations of enterprises, and concerted practices by enterprises that have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction, or distortion of competition within the Community and actions by which an enterprise abuses its dominant position within the Community. The Fair Competition Act codified the establishment of the Barbados Fair Trading Commission (FTC) in 2001. The FTC is responsible for the promotion and maintenance of fair competition participates in the CCC. The FTC regulates the principles, rates, and standards of service for public utilities and other regulated service providers. The Telecommunications Act regulates competition in the telecommunications sector.

Expropriation and Compensation

The Barbados constitution and the Companies Act (Chap. 308) contain provisions permitting the government to acquire property for public use upon prompt payment of compensation at fair market value. U.S. Embassy Bridgetown is not aware of any outstanding expropriation claims or nationalization of foreign enterprises in Barbados.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

The Government of Barbados wrote the New York Convention’s provisions into domestic law but did not ratify the convention. The Arbitration Act (1976) and the Foreign Arbitral Awards Act (1980), which recognizes the 1958 New York Convention on the Negotiation and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, are the main laws governing dispute settlement in Barbados.

Barbados is also a member of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, also known as the Washington Convention. Individual agreements between Barbados and multilateral lending agencies also have provisions calling on Barbados officials to accept recourse to binding international arbitration to resolve investment disputes between foreign investors and the state.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

The Barbados Arbitration Act (1976) and the Foreign Arbitral Awards Act (1980) provide for arbitration of investment disputes. Barbados does not have a bilateral trade treaty or a free trade agreement with an investment chapter with the United States.

Barbados’ court system and bureaucracy are widely seen as slow and are considered impediments to timely resolutions of commercial disputes. Through the Arbitration Act of 1976, local courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards issued against the government. In 2019, the Supreme Court of Judicature Act was amended to include the establishment of a commercial division in the High Court which will oversee proceedings regarding arbitration. The U.S. Embassy is not aware of recent cases of investment disputes in Barbados involving U.S. or other foreign investors.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

The Supreme Court of Barbados is the domestic arbitration body. Local courts enforce foreign arbitral awards. In 2019, two new court protocols in the Supreme and Magistrate courts were introduced for alternative dispute mechanisms in mediation and arbitration to be available to judges and attorneys for the remediation of civil matters.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (2002), Barbados has a bankruptcy framework that recognizes certain debtor and creditor rights. The act gives a potentially bankrupt company three options: bankruptcy (voluntary or involuntary), receivership, or reorganization of the company. The Companies Act provides for the insolvency and/or liquidation of a company incorporated under this act. In 2019, the Supreme Court of Judicature Act was amended to include the establishment of a commercial division in the High Court which will oversee proceedings connected to bankruptcy and insolvency.

Investment Incentives

In 2019, Barbados repealed its Fiscal Incentives Act, bringing the country into conformity with its obligations under the WTO and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. Manufacturers may still benefit from some concessions. Further information is available from Invest Barbados.

The Small Business Development Act (1999) defines a small business as having no more than 25 employees. Small businesses must be registered under the Companies Act, which applies to domestic and foreign-owned micro and small enterprises. Small businesses are not eligible for incentives under the Tourism Development Act, the Special Development Areas Act, or the Shipping Incentives Act.

Enterprises generating export profits (other than from exports within CARICOM) may receive an export allowance expressed as a rebate of corporate tax on those profits. The maximum rebate of 93 percent applies if more than 81 percent of an enterprise’s profits result from extra-regional exports. The export development allowance permits a company to deduct from taxable income an additional 50 percent of what the company spends in developing export markets outside CARICOM.

Initial allowances or investment allowances of up to 40 percent on capital expenditure are available for businesses making capital expenditures on machinery and plants or on an industrial building or structure. The government also allows annual depreciation allowances on such expenditures.

In the tourism sector, the government’s market development allowance permits a company to deduct an additional 50 percent of what it spends to encourage tourists to visit Barbados. Under the Tourism Development Act of 2002, businesses and individuals that invest in the tourism sector can write off capital expenditures and 150 percent of interest. These entities are also exempt from import duties and environmental levies on furniture, fixtures and equipment, building materials, supplies, and equity financing. The act expands the definition of the tourist sector beyond accommodation to include restaurants, tourist recreational facilities, and tourism-related services. The act encourages the development of attractions that emphasize the country’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage, and encourages construction of properties in non-coastal areas.

Barbados has harmonized the legislative and tax frameworks for domestic and international companies in the international business sector. Companies conducting international business operate with a tax rate from 1 to 5.5 percent. Companies exporting 100 percent of their services or products can apply for a foreign currency permit. All corporate entities are taxed on a sliding scale:

Taxable Income USD Rate %

Up to 500,000  5.50

Above 500,000 to 10 million  3.00

Above 10 million to 15 million  2.50

Above 15 million. 1.00

There are no withholdings taxes on dividends, interest, royalties, or management fees paid to non-residents.

The Government of Barbados offers various incentives to business owners engaged in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors. A pamphlet outlining these incentives is available on the Ministry of Energy and Business website.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

There are currently no foreign trade zones or free ports in Barbados. In 2021, the government announced plans to establish a Barbados Free Economic Zone to help attract foreign direct investment.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

Foreign investors must finance their investments from external sources or from income that the investment generates. As a member of the WTO, Barbados is party to the Agreement to the Trade Related Investment Measures. While there are no formal performance requirements, the government encourages investments that will create jobs and increase exports and foreign exchange earnings. When a foreign investment generates significant employment or other tangible benefits for Barbados, the authorities may allow the company to borrow locally for working capital. Invest Barbados may provide a training grant to qualifying manufacturing and information and communication technology enterprises during the initial operating period.

Except in the case of its medicinal cannabis and renewable energy industries, Barbados does not require that its citizens own shares of a foreign investor’s enterprise. Some restrictions may apply to share transfers. The Companies Act does not permit bearer shares. Foreign investors do not need to establish facilities in any specific location, although there are some zoning restrictions on residential and commercial construction for environmental reasons. There is no requirement that enterprises must purchase a fixed percentage of goods from local sources. Investors, particularly within the hospitality industry, are encouraged to use local products whenever possible.

Barbados labor and immigration laws stipulate that non-nationals seeking to work in Barbados must apply for work permits, including for all managerial and technical staff. Nationals from CARICOM member states are exempt from this requirement. The work permit is specific to the job and employer and the permit may be granted for a period of up to five years. Short-term permits of up to six months are also available. To grant a work permit, the government requires that the expatriate must bring to the job special skills or knowledge not readily available in Barbados. While work permits are generally granted to senior management, the government may restrict the number of permits approved depending on the number of people employed by the local company. There are no restrictions regarding foreign directors of boards. More information is available at .

There are no requirements for foreign information technology providers to turn over source codes and/or provide access to surveillance. The Barbados Data Protection Act (BDPA) became law in 2021. The BDPA created a data protection authority under a Data Protection Commissioner responsible for the general administration of the act. The BDPA prohibits the transfer of personal data out of Barbados unless the destination country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects vis-à-vis the processing of their personal data. Violations under the BDPA are subject to fines ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 (10,000 to 500,000 Barbados dollars) and allow for criminal convictions resulting in prison sentences ranging from two months to three years.

Real Property

There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of property in Barbados. Foreign investors and locals are treated equally regarding property taxes. Civil law protects physical property and mortgage claims. The CBB must verify real property purchases for non-residents. If a non-resident uses foreign funds and pays for the property in Barbados, the CBB will normally endorse the transaction. The sale of property is subject to a 2.5 percent property transfer tax in addition to a one percent stamp duty. Brokerage and legal fees are not included in these levies. Buyers should seek the advice of a local attorney when purchasing property.

Commercial, industrial, hotel, and villa properties are subject to a 0.95 percent land tax on the improved value of the property. Holders of a certificate from the Barbados Tourism Authority enjoy rebates of 50 percent for hotels and 25 percent from villas. The Commissioner of Land Tax charges an annual fee based on the assessed property value on residential property. These tax rates are available on the Barbados Revenue Authority website: .

The government has included an additional procedure that has increased the time to record the conveyance at the Land Registry and pay transfer fees and stamp duties. This has made transferring property more onerous. The Land Registry has digitized records dating back to 1952 and plans to further digitize deeds dating back to 1640. A landowner may lose his or her title to land if a trespasser or squatter takes possession for a period of ten years.

Intellectual Property Rights

Barbados remains on the Special 301 Watch List in 2023. Barbados has a legislative framework governing intellectual property rights (IPR), though enforcement needs improvement. Barbados is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and is party to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks. The Government of Barbados has enacted IPR legislation on topics including patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, integrated circuits topography, plant breeders’ rights, geographical indications, and protection against unfair competition. Barbados’ Trademark and Industrial Designs Act meets international standards.

Barbados acceded to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) and WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), collectively known as the WIPO Internet Treaties, in 2019. Last year’s review of draft amendments to Barbados’s Copyright Act to implement the treaties has been delayed, and parliament is now expected to discuss the amendments by the end of 2023. However, the lack of enforcement of intellectual property judgments, insufficient resources for law enforcement, weak enforcement of existing legislation, and long-standing backlogs in the judicial system remain concerns. In the realm of copyright and related rights, the United States continues to have concerns about the unauthorized retransmission of U.S. broadcasts and cable programming by local cable operators in Barbados, particularly state-owned broadcasters, without adequate compensation to U.S. right holders.

Article 66 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the CSME commits all 15 CARICOM members to implement stronger intellectual property rights protection and enforcement. The CARIFORUM-EU EPA contains the most detailed obligations regarding intellectual property in any trade agreement to which Barbados is a party. The EPA provides for protection and enforcement of IPR. Article 139 of the EPA requires parties to “ensure an adequate and effective implementation of the international treaties dealing with intellectual property to which they are parties and of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property.”

It is the responsibility of the importer to pay for and destroy counterfeit goods. Failure to observe certain standards regarding the importation of goods may result in a recommendation to the Comptroller of Barbados’ Custom and Excises Department to have the goods destroyed. If the goods fall under the Ministry of Health’s jurisdiction, they are destroyed under that ministry’s guidance. If the goods are prohibited and do not pertain to the Ministry of Health, the Customs and Excise Department will destroy them as appropriate. Information on the prevalence of counterfeit goods in the local market is not readily available, as there is no tracking method in place to collect data. Barbados is not listed in USTR’s 2022 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy.

For additional information about national laws and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at  .

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Barbados has a small stock exchange, an active banking sector, and opportunities for portfolio investment. Local policies seek to facilitate the free flow of financial resources, although some restrictions may be imposed during exceptional periods of low liquidity. The CBB independently raises or lowers interest rates without government intervention. There are a variety of credit instruments in the commercial and public sectors that local and foreign investors may access.

Barbados continues to review legislation in the financial sector to strengthen and improve the regulatory regime and attract and facilitate retention of foreign portfolio investments. The government continues to improve its legal, regulatory, and supervisory frameworks to strengthen the banking system. The Anti-Money Laundering Authority and its operating arm, the government’s Financial Intelligence Unit, review anti-money laundering policy documents and analyze prudential returns.

The Securities Exchange Act of 1982 established the Securities Exchange of Barbados, which was reincorporated as the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) in 2001. The BSE operates a two-tier electronic trading system comprised of a regular market and an innovation and growth market (formerly the junior market). Companies applying for listing on the regular market must observe and comply with certain requirements. Specifically, they must have assets of at least $500,000 (1 million Barbados dollars) and adequate working capital based on the last three years of their financial performance, as well as three-year performance projections. Companies must also demonstrate competent management and be incorporated under the laws of Barbados, or another regulated jurisdiction approved by the Financial Services Commission. Applications for listing on the innovation and growth market are less onerous, requiring minimum equity of one million shares at a stated minimum value of $100,000 (200,000 Barbados dollars). Reporting and disclosure requirements for all listed companies include interim financial statements and an annual report and questionnaire. Non-nationals must obtain exchange control approval from the CBB to trade securities on the BSE.

The BSE has computerized clearance and settlement of share certificates through the Barbados Central Securities Depository Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the BSE. Under the Property Transfer Tax Act, the FSC can accommodate investors requiring a traditional certificate for a small fee. The FSC also regulates mutual funds in accordance with the Mutual Funds Act.

The BSE adheres to rules in accordance with International Organization of Securities Commissions guidelines designed to protect investors; ensure a fair, efficient, and transparent market; and reduce systemic risk. Public companies must file audited financial statements with the BSE no later than 90 days after the close of their financial year. The authorities may impose a fine not exceeding $5,000 (10,000 Barbados dollars) for any person under the jurisdiction of the BSE who contravenes or is not in compliance with any regulatory requirements.

The BSE launched the International Securities Market (ISM) in 2016. It is designed to operate as a separate market, allowing issuers from Barbados and other international markets. To date, the ISM has four listing sponsors.

The BSE collaborates with its regional partners, the Jamaica Stock Exchange, and the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange, through shared trading software. The capacity for this inter-exchange connectivity provides a wealth of potential investment opportunities for local and regional investors. The BSE obtained designated recognized stock exchange status from the UK in 2019. It is also a member of the World Federation of Exchanges.

In 2022, the BSE became the 112th member of the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange initiative. BSE has solidified its commitment to transparency and sustainability by becoming a partner exchange of the UN SSE initiative and now joins a global network of stock exchanges that are committed to promoting sustainable development.

Barbados has accepted the obligations of Article VIII, Sections 2, 3, and 4 of the IMF Articles of Agreement and maintains an exchange system free of restrictions on current account transactions.

Money and Banking System

The government established the CBB in 1972. The CBB manages Barbados’ currency and regulates its domestic banks.

The Barbados Deposit Insurance Corporation (BDIC) provides protection for depositors. Oversight of the entire financial system is conducted by the Financial Oversight Management Committee, which consists of the CBB, the BDIC, and the FSC. The private sector has access to financing on the local market through short-term borrowing and credit, asset financing, project financing, and mortgage financing.

Commercial banks and other deposit-taking institutions set their own interest rates. The CBB requires banks to hold 17.5 percent of their domestic deposits in stipulated securities.

The Caribbean region has witnessed a withdrawal of correspondent banking services by U.S., Canadian, and European banks due to risk management concerns. CARICOM remains committed to engaging with key stakeholders on the issue and appointed a Committee of Ministers of Finance on Correspondent Banking to continue to monitor the issue.

Bitt, a wholly U.S. owned company founded in Barbados, developed digital currency DCash in partnership with the ECCB. The first successful DCash retail central bank digital currency consumer-to-merchant transaction took place in Grenada in 2021 following a multi-year development process. The CBB and the FSC established a regulatory sandbox in 2018 where financial technology entities could do live testing of their products and services for Barbados. This allowed regulators to gain a better understanding of the product or service and to determine what, if any, regulation is necessary to protect consumers. Bitt completed its participation and formally exited the sandbox in 2019. According to Bitt, it has no immediate plans to launch DCash in Barbados and focused first on Barbados’ Eastern Caribbean neighbors. Bitt also offers a digital access exchange, remittance channel, and merchant-processing gateway available via mMoney, a mobile application in Barbados.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

Barbados’ currency of exchange is the Barbadian dollar (BBD). It is issued by the CBB. Barbados’ foreign exchange operates under a liberal system. The Barbadian dollar has been pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of BBD 2.00: USD 1.00 since 1975. This creates a stable currency environment for trade and investment in Barbados.

Remittance Policies

Companies can freely repatriate profits and capital from foreign direct investment if they are registered with the CBB at the time of investment. The CBB has the right to stagger these conversions depending on the level of international reserves available to the CBB at the time capital repatriation is requested.

The Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment controls the flow of foreign exchange and the Exchange Control Division of the CBB executes foreign exchange policy under the Exchange Control Act. Individuals may apply through a local bank to convert the equivalent of $10,000 (20,000 Barbados dollars) per year for personal travel and up to a maximum of $25,000 (50,000 Barbados dollars) for business travel. The CBB must approve conversion of any amount over these limits. International businesses, including insurance companies, are exempt from these exchange control regulations.

Barbados is a member of the CFATF. In 2014, the Government of Barbados signed an Intergovernmental Agreement in observance of FATCA, making it mandatory for banks in Barbados to report the banking information of U.S. citizens.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Currently, the CBB does not maintain a sovereign wealth fund.

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Barbados work in partnership with ministries, or under their remit, and carry out certain ministerial responsibilities. There are over 60 SOEs in Barbados operating in areas such as travel and tourism, investment services, broadcasting and media, sanitation services, sports, and culture.

SOEs in Barbados are not found in the key areas earmarked for investment. They are all wholly owned government entities. They are headed by boards of directors to which their senior management reports.

As part of the ongoing IMF BERT 2022 program, the Government of Barbados is addressing the expenditure position of the SOEs by defining clear objectives for SOE reforms, reducing the wage bill of these entities, and implementing other necessary reform measures.

Privatization Program

Barbados does not currently have a targeted privatization program. The government has announced plans for public-private partnerships in airport management and broadcasting services, which will still see the government retaining ownership of these entities. The process remains open to foreign investors and is transparent. More information can be obtained at  .

The private sector is involved in projects that benefit society, including in support of environmental, social, and cultural causes. The non-governmental organization (NGO) community, while comparatively small, is involved in fundraising and volunteerism in gender, health, environmental, and community projects. The government periodically partners with NGOs and encourages philanthropy.

Adoption of broad corporate governance codes such as the OECD guidelines is voluntary, as is disclosure of corporate governance practices. In practice, many companies in Barbados are influenced by international best practices. CBB and FSC guidelines regulate the purpose and role of the board of directors. The accounting profession is regulated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados, which is a member of the International Federation of Accountants.

Barbados is not a signatory of the Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies or a participant in the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers’ Association.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

Climate Issues

Barbados published a national climate change strategy in 2012. Since then, the government has submitted both an initial and updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). It does not have a specific strategy for monitoring natural capital, including biodiversity and ecosystem services. The government hopes to achieve a fossil fuel-free economy by 2030. The government has also indicated that substantial support from the international community will be necessary to achieve this goal. Public procurement policies currently do not include environmental and green growth considerations. In early 2023, the government agreed to establish a Blue Green Bank which will fund climate mitigation efforts.

The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implemented these laws effectively. Barbados signed but did not yet ratify the UN Convention on Corruption and the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.

In 2012, Barbados enacted the Prevention of Corruption Act, which includes standards of integrity in public life. It has not been proclaimed by the President and consequently is not in force. The Integrity of Public Life Bill 2020, which mandated declaration of assets by all politicians, senior public officers, chairpeople, and high-ranking managers of SOEs, passed in Barbados’ Parliament but was ultimately defeated in the Senate. Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s administration plans to bring the bill back to parliament but has acknowledged the need to reach agreement with opposing forces in the senate.

The Government of Barbados has announced its intention to establish a public investment dashboard to provide information relevant to public sector investment projects, including cost overruns, procurement procedures, and company selection. The government also plans to establish an independent statistics and data analytics authority and to introduce a Freedom of Information Act.

A government minister with the previous administration was arrested in the United States on charges of laundering proceeds from bribes paid in Barbados. In 2020, he was found guilty on two charges of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He has since completed his sentence and returned to Barbados in March 2023.

Barbados is a member of the regional Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies in the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Resources to Report Corruption

The Director
Financial Intelligence Unit
P.O. Box 1327, Bridgetown

Barbados is considered politically stable and does not have a recent history of political violence. Elections are peaceful and considered generally free and transparent. The next election is constitutionally due in 2027.

Barbados’ active labor force was 128,400 people at the end of 2022. Recent statistics point to a return of employment levels to pre-pandemic numbers with unemployment falling to 8.2 per cent at the end of 2022.

Labor regulations in Barbados are guided by a framework of laws including the Holidays with Pay Act, the Sick Leave Act, the Public Holidays Act, and the Protection of Wages Act, as well as policies regarding maternity leave, national insurance (social security) contributions, unemployment benefits, and severance pay. Barbados has ratified the eight core conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Barbados upholds the ratified conventions and is guided by the ILO’s other conventions.

Wages in Barbados are some of the highest in the Caribbean. Minimum wages are administratively established for only a few categories of workers and are enforced by the Ministry of Labour’s Labour Department. The minimum wage for shop assistants is currently $4.25 (8.50 Barbados dollars) per hour. The Ministry of Labour recommends that companies recognize this as the de facto minimum wage, though most employees earn more than this. The standard legal workweek is 40 hours in five days, and the law provides employees with three weeks of paid holiday for persons with less than five years’ service and four weeks of paid holiday leave after five years’ service. The law requires overtime payment of time and a half for hours worked in excess of the legal standard and prescribes that all overtime must be voluntary.

The law does not set a maximum number of overtime hours. Workers are covered by unemployment benefits legislation and national insurance legislation after 52 weeks of continuous employment. The government sets occupational safety and health standards.

Workers are legally allowed to form and join unions and conduct strikes, but there is no specific legal recognition of the right to collective bargaining. Most major employers choose to recognize unions when more than 50 percent of employees request recognition. Smaller companies are less frequently unionized. Companies are sometimes hesitant to engage in collective bargaining with recognized unions, but in most instances they eventually do so. The law prohibits antiunion discrimination and protects workers engaged in union activity. Private-sector employees can strike, but strikes are prohibited by workers in essential services such as police, firefighting, electricity, and water.

In general, the government effectively enforces labor laws, and penalties are sufficient to deter violations. The law gives employees the right to have allegations of unfair dismissal tried before the Employment Rights Tribunal, but the process often has lengthy delays. Workers’ rights are generally respected. Unions receive periodic complaints of violations of collective bargaining agreements, but most complaints are resolved through established mechanisms.

The law provides for a minimum working age of 16. Compulsory primary and secondary education policies reinforce minimum age requirements. The Labour Department has a small cadre of labor inspectors who conduct spot investigations of enterprises and check records to verify compliance with the law. These inspectors may take legal action against an employer who is found to have underage workers.

Under the Severance Payments Act, an employer is obligated to pay an employee a severance payment where the employee is terminated on account of redundancy. The Employee Rights Act, section 31, provides that dismissal of an employee on account of redundancy does not contravene the right not to be unfairly dismissed. Qualifying workers who are laid off for economic reasons are generally entitled to receive a severance payment on a graduating scale that starts at 2.5 weeks’ pay for every completed year of employment. All unemployed workers are eligible for unemployment benefits upon meeting the qualifying contribution periods established by the National Insurance and Social Security scheme.

The Occupational Health at Work Act governs the general health and safety of workers in all workplaces except the armed forces and private household domestic service. The law requires firms employing more than 50 workers (fewer in certain sectors) to create a safety committee that may challenge the decisions of management concerning occupational safety and health. The Labour Department also enforces health and safety standards and follows up to ensure that management corrects problems. Trade union monitors can identify safety problems for government factory inspectors. The Labour Department’s Inspection Unit conducts routine annual inspections of government-operated corporations and manufacturing plants. Workers have the right to remove themselves from dangerous or hazardous job situations without jeopardizing their continued employment.

According to government figures, the growing informal economy represents between 30 and 40 percent of GDP. The government has stated that by avoiding taxes and regulations, informal firms have an unfair advantage over more efficient formal firms, undermining economic growth and progress. In general, most sectors of the Barbados informal economy do not overlap with potential investment sectors for U.S. and other foreign businesses.

Barbados is classified as a high- income country under the World Bank’s definition and is ineligible for DFC programs.

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical source*

USG or international statistical source

USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

Economic Data





Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD)





Foreign Direct Investment

Host Country Statistical source*

USG or international statistical source

USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)





BEA data available at

Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions)





BEA data available at

Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP





UNCTAD data available at   

* Source for Host Country Data: Central Bank of Barbados, 2022’%20Economy%20-%20January-March%202023.pdf

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Data for Barbados is listed as not available.

Political/Economic Section
U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States

On This Page

  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
    1. Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
    2. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
    3. Other Investment Policy Reviews
    4. Business Facilitation
    5. Outward Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
  4. 3. Legal Regime
    1. Transparency of the Regulatory System
    2. International Regulatory Considerations
    3. Legal System and Judicial Independence
    4. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
    5. Competition and Antitrust Laws
    6. Expropriation and Compensation
    7. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
    8. Bankruptcy Regulations
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
    1. Investment Incentives
    2. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
    3. Performance and Data Localization Requirements
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
    1. Real Property
    2. Intellectual Property Rights
  7. 6. Financial Sector
    1. Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
    2. Money and Banking System
    3. Foreign Exchange and Remittances
      1. Foreign Exchange
      2. Remittance Policies
    4. Sovereign Wealth Funds
  8. 7. State-Owned Enterprises
    1. Privatization Program
  9. 8. Responsible Business Conduct
    1. Additional Resources
    2. Climate Issues
  10. 9. Corruption
    1. Resources to Report Corruption
  11. 10. Political and Security Environment
  12. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  13. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  14. 13. Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
  15. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: Barbados
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