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Saint Lucia is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). Saint Lucia had an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1.69 billion in 2021 according to the latest figures obtained from the World Bank. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) did not produce any figures for Saint Lucia in the reporting period. Tourism is Saint Lucia’s main economic sector, while real estate and call centers are other leading sectors. 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 Saint Lucian economy to grow by 3.0% by the end of 2023.

The government remains committed to creating a welcoming and open business climate to attract more foreign investment in all sectors to the country. The government is prioritizing investment in key areas of tourism, real estate development, manufacturing and agro-processing, and
global business outsourcing.

The Government of Saint Lucia provides several incentives to encourage domestic and foreign private investment. For example, foreign investors in Saint Lucia can repatriate all profits, dividends, and import capital.

The Saint Lucia legal system is based on the British common law system, but its civil code and property law are greatly influenced by French law. Saint Lucia does not have a bilateral investment treaty with the United States but has bilateral investment treaties with Germany and the UK. Saint Lucia recently became the sixth member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to become a full member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), making the CCJ its final court of appeal.

In 2014, the Government of Saint Lucia signed an Intergovernmental Agreement in observance of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), making it mandatory for banks in Saint Lucia 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 35 of 180  
Global Innovation Index 2022 N/A  
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2021 $ 254.0M
World Bank GNI per capita 2021 $9,750

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

The Government of Saint Lucia strongly encourages foreign direct investment (FDI). Invest Saint Lucia has introduced several investment incentives for businesses that consider locating in Saint Lucia, encouraging both domestic and foreign private investment. Invest Saint Lucia is managed by a Chief Executive Director and is overseen by a board of directors appointed by the government under the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information. The state-run agency Invest Saint Lucia provides “one-stop shop” facilitation services to investors, helping to guide them through the various stages of the investment process. It assesses investment proposals for viability and in accordance with the laws of Saint Lucia and provides investment promotion services. Saint Lucia also has a citizenship by investment program to facilitate certain forms of FDI (see section on laws and regulations on foreign investment for additional details).

Applicable government agencies, rather than Invest Saint Lucia, grant investment concessions. Government policies provide liberal tax holidays, a waiver of import duty on imported plant machinery and equipment and imported raw and packaging materials, and export allowance or tax relief on export earnings. Various laws provide fiscal incentives to encourage establishing and expanding foreign and domestic investment. A Tourism Development Bill is currently going through a stakeholder process. The contours of the legislation are not yet public, but the intent is to encourage more local participation in the sector.

The Saint Lucian government encourages investment in all sectors, but targeted sectors include tourism, manufacturing and agro-processing, global business outsourcing and real estate development.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Local laws do not place any limits on the amount of foreign ownership or control in the establishment of a business in Saint Lucia. The government allows 100 percent foreign ownership of companies in any sector. Currently, there are few restrictions on foreigners investing in military or security-related businesses or natural resources. Trade licenses and other approvals/licenses may be required before establishment.

Invest Saint Lucia evaluates all FDI proposals and provides intelligence, business facilitation, and investment promotion to establish and expand profitable business enterprises in Saint Lucia. Invest Saint Lucia also advises the government on issues that are important to the private sector and potential investors and advocates for an improved business climate, growth in investment opportunities, and improvements in the international competitiveness of the local economy. It focuses on building and promoting Saint Lucia as an ideal location for investors, seeking and generating new investment in strategic sectors, facilitating domestic and foreign direct investment as a one stop shop for investors, and identifying major issues and measures geared towards assisting the government in the development of a National Investment Policy.

The Government of Saint Lucia treats foreign and local investors equally with respect to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, and sale or other disposition of investments in its territory.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

In May 2023, the World Trade Organization (WTO) conducted a trade policy review of the OECS of which Saint Lucia is a member. The full report is available at . There have not been any investment policy reviews of Saint Lucia by civil society organizations in the past five years.

Business Facilitation

All potential investors applying for government incentives must submit their proposals for review by Invest Saint Lucia to ensure the projects are consistent with the national interest and provide economic benefits to the country.  Invest Saint Lucia offers an online resource that is useful for navigating the laws, rules, procedures, and registration requirements for foreign investors.  It is available at  .

The Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property office maintains an e-filing portal for most of its services, including company registration.  Relevant officials can review applications submitted electronically.  Applicants, however, must pay the registration fee in-person at the Registry Office.  The Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property Office can only accept payment in the form of cash and checks.  Personal checks are not accepted.  It is advisable to consult a local attorney prior to starting the process.  Further information is available at  .

The general practice for starting a business is to retain an attorney to prepare all incorporation documents.  A business must register with the Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property Office, the Inland Revenue Authority, and the National Insurance Corporation.  The Government of Saint Lucia continues to support the growth of women-led businesses.  The government seeks to support equitable treatment of women in the private sector through non-discriminatory processes for business registration, awarding of fiscal incentives, and assessing investments.
The Government of Saint Lucia is committed to the full participation of people with disabilities in the society and the economy.  It actively engages with people with disabilities in society to ensure the equal participation of people with disabilities in formal and informal sectors of the economy.

Outward Investment

The Government of Saint Lucia prioritizes investment retention as a key component of its overall economic strategy. While the government is encouraging more domestic savings, it continues to require significant foreign investment to fill the investment gap.

Local laws do not place ay restrictions on domestic investors seeking to do business abroad. The government actively encourages local companies in Saint Lucia to take advantage of export opportunities specifically related to the country’s membership in the OECS Economic Union and the Caribbean Community Single Market and Economy (CSME), which enhance the competitiveness of the local and regional private sectors across traditional and emerging high-potential markets.

Saint Lucia does not have a bilateral investment treaty with the United States. It has bilateral investment treaties with Germany, the UK, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Saint Lucia has signed taxation agreements with other CARICOM countries. There is no taxation treaty with the United States, but there is a bilateral Tax Information Agreement.

Saint Lucia is also party to the following:

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

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

Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

The Treaty of Basseterre established the OECS in 1981. The OECS consists of seven full members (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), and four associate members (Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, and Martinique). The purpose of the Treaty is to promote harmonization among member states in foreign policy, defense and security, and economic affairs. The seven full members ratified the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union, which entered into force in 2011. The Economic Union established a single financial and economic space within which goods, services, and people move without hindrance.

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 Saint Lucia into the United States.

CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement

The Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) states and the European Community signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in 2008. CARIFORUM consists of the independent Anglophone CARICOM member states, the Dominican Republic and Suriname. The overarching objectives of the EPA are to alleviate poverty, to promote regional integration and economic cooperation, and to foster the gradual integration of the CARIFORUM states into the world economy by improving their trade capacity and creating an investment-conducive environment. The agreement promotes trade-related development in areas such as competition, intellectual property, public procurement, the environment, and 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 all tariffs on all goods imported from CARIFORUM states into the UK, while those Caribbean states will continue to gradually cut import tariffs on most of the region’s imports from the UK.

Caribbean/Canada Trade Agreement

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

The legal framework in Saint Lucia seeks to foster competition and establish clear rules for foreign and domestic investors in the areas of tax, labor, environment, health, and safety. The Ministry of Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, the Office of the Prime Minister and Invest Saint Lucia provide oversight on the transparency of the system as it relates to investment. The government offers a range of incentives for foreign investors. The Invest Saint Lucia Act addresses government policy for attracting investment. The Trade License Act, Aliens Licensing Act, Special Development Areas Act, Income Tax Act, Free Zones Act, Tourism Incentives Act, Investment and Stimulus Act, and Fiscal Incentives Act also impact foreign investment. The government announced plans to update these pieces of legislation to ensure that Saint Lucia remains compliant with international tax and exchange of information requirements.

Rulemaking and regulatory authority lie with the bicameral parliament. The parliament consists of a lower house, which has 17 members elected for five-year terms in single-seat constituencies, and a senate with 11 appointed members.

Relevant laws govern all regulations relating to foreign investment in Saint Lucia. These laws are developed in the respective ministries and drafted by the Office of the Attorney General. FDI is covered by the enacting legislation for Invest Saint Lucia, the citizenship by investment program, and some sector-specific laws such as the Fiscal Incentives Act or tourism-related laws. Saint Lucia’s laws are available online at  .

Although some draft bills are not subject to public consultation, the government may solicit input from various stakeholder groups and via town hall meetings when formulating legislation. The government also uses public awareness efforts such as television and radio call-in programs to inform and shape public opinion. The government may publish copies of proposed laws and regulations in the Official Gazette before they are presented in the House of Assembly. Saint Lucia’s constitution provides for protection of freedom of expression and freedom to receive ideas and information without interference. In practice, information is not always readily available. The government maintains an information service website on which it posts select information such as directories of officials and a summary of laws and press releases. It may not always be up to date. The government budget address is available on the website, though not the budget or audits. The International Financial Accounting Standards, which stem from the General Accepted Accounting Principles, govern the accounting profession in Saint Lucia. The most recent Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Mutual Evaluation assessment found Saint Lucia’s AML/CFT controls were generally in technical compliance with international standards. The ECCB is the supervisory authority over financial institutions registered under the Banking Act of 2015.

The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner or Ombudsman is a constitutional entity created to guard against abuses of power by government officers in the performance of their duties. The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner is independent. The Parliamentary Commissioner investigates complaints relating to actions or omissions by any government official or government body where such actions or omissions cause an injustice or harm a member of the public.

In developing regulations, respective ministries advise the Office of the Attorney-General regarding necessary elements and parameters of proposed legislation. The Office of the Attorney-General subsequently drafts legislation, ensuring compatibility with the nation’s domestic and international legal commitments. Invest Saint Lucia has the main responsibility for investment supervision, whereas the Ministry of Finance monitors investments to collect information for national statistics and reporting purposes. Saint Lucia’s membership in regional organizations, particularly the OECS and its Economic Union, commits the state to ensure the fulfillment of its various treaty obligations, although there are some minor differences in implementation from country to country. The enforcement mechanisms of these regulations include financial penalties and other sanctions.

International Regulatory Considerations

As a member of the OECS and the ECCU, Saint Lucia subscribes to a set of principles and policies outlined in the Revised Treaty of Basseterre. Each participating member state is expected to coordinate and adopt, where possible, common national policies, with the objective of progressive harmonization of relevant policies and systems across the region. Saint Lucia is obligated to implement regionally developed regulations, such as legislation passed under OECS authority, unless it seeks specific concessions.

The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards is a statutory body established under the Standards Act. It establishes, maintains, and promotes standards for improving industrial development and efficiency, promoting the health and safety of consumers, and protecting the environment, food products, quality of life, and the facilitation of trade. It also conducts international standards consultations and training. As a signatory to the WTO Agreement on the Technical Barriers to Trade, Saint Lucia is obligated to harmonize all national standards to international norms to avoid creating technical barriers to trade. Saint Lucia is working to improve customs efficiency, modernize customs operations, and address inefficiencies in the clearance of goods.

Saint Lucia ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in December 2015. Ratification of the Agreement is an important signal to investors of the country’s commitment to improving its business environment for trade. The TFA aims to improve the speed and efficiency of border procedures, facilitate reductions in trade costs, and enhance participation in the global value chain. Saint Lucia has already implemented several TFA requirements.

As a member of CARICOM, Saint Lucia utilizes the Advanced Cargo Information System, a computer-based system developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to harmonize and standardize electronic cargo information in order to improve the capability to track cargo efficiently and to support regional and international trade. The Advanced Cargo Information System forms a critical part of the World Customs Organization SAFE Framework of Standards. Saint Lucia has also fully implemented the Automated System for Customs Data.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Saint Lucia bases its legal system on the British common law system, but its civil code and property law are influenced by French law. The Attorney General, the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, junior judges, and magistrates administer justice. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Act establishes the Supreme Court of Judicature, which consists of the High Court and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. The High Court hears criminal and civil matters and makes determinations on the interpretation of the constitution. Parties may appeal first to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is the regional judicial tribunal, established in 2001 by the Agreement Establishing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. The CCJ has original jurisdiction to interpret and apply the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. In its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ considers and determines appeals from the CARICOM member states that are parties to the Agreement Establishing the CCJ. In May 2023, Saint Lucia became the sixth member of CARICOM to become a full member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ); making the CCJ its final court of appeal.

The United States and Saint Lucia 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 Saint Lucia’s FDI policy is to actively pursue FDI in priority sectors and advise the government on the formation and implementation of policies and programs to attract sustainable investment. Invest Saint Lucia reviews all proposals for investment concessions and incentives to ensure the projects are consistent with the national interest and provide economic benefits to the country.

Invest Saint Lucia provides “one-stop shop” facilitation services to investors to guide them through the various stages of the investment process. Invest Saint Lucia offers a website that is useful to navigate the laws, rules, procedures, and registration requirements for foreign investors:  .

Citizenship by Investment

Under Saint Lucia’s citizenship by investment program, foreign individuals may obtain citizenship in accordance with the Citizenship by Investment Act of 2015, which grants the right to citizenship without voting rights to qualified investors. Program applicants are required to submit to a due diligence process before citizenship can be granted. The minimum investment for a single applicant to qualify is a $100,000 (270,225 Eastern Caribbean dollars) contribution to the National Economic Fund. A $150,000 (405,383 Eastern Caribbean dollars) contribution covers a family of four made up of the principal applicant, spouse, and up to two dependents. Alternatively, a real estate purchase valued at $200,000 (540,510 Eastern Caribbean dollars) or more will also qualify. There are also provisions for enterprise investment in approved projects and a government bond option. For enterprise investment the program is open to receiving investment proposals in the following sectors: tourism and hospitality, cruise ports and marinas, agro-processing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, civil infrastructure, research and development and offshore education. More information on the citizenship by investment program is available at  .

Competition and Antitrust Laws

Chapter 8 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas outlines the competition policy applicable to CARICOM states.  Member states are required to establish and maintain a national competition authority for implementing the rules of competition.  CARICOM established a Caribbean Competition Commission (CCC) to apply rules of competition regarding anti-competitive cross-border business conduct.  CARICOM competition policy addresses anti-competitive 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 CARICOM, and actions by which an enterprise abuses its dominant position within CARICOM.  Saint Lucia is a member of the CCC.

The OECS has agreed to establish a regional authority to regulate competition in the economic union and would be a part of the CCC. To date, the draft OECS Competition Bill remains under review. As such, there is currently no legislation or authority outside of the CARICOM framework that regulates competition in Saint Lucia.

Expropriation and Compensation

Under the Land Acquisition Act, the government can acquire land for a public purpose. The government must serve a notice of acquisition to the person from whom the land is acquired. Saint Lucia employs a system of eminent domain to pay compensation in such cases. There were no reports that the government discriminated against U.S. investments, companies, or landholdings. There are no laws forcing local ownership in specified sectors.

There is one case of expropriation involving an American citizen-owned property. An American citizen purchased 32 acres of land in Saint Lucia in 1970. The government expropriated the land in 1985 by an act of law. The claimant has been seeking redress and those efforts have been unsuccessful to date. In 2014, the government denied the claimant’s request without explanation. The government has been largely unresponsive to repeated attempts by the claimant to appeal the decision. The government also claims to have lost property records that the claimant says support their ownership claim. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown continues to advocate with the government to ensure the claimant is allowed to fully exercise their due process rights.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Saint Lucia is a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States, but not a member of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, also known as the New York Arbitration Convention. The Arbitration Act (2001) provides general and specific provisions on arbitration rules and procedures in Saint Lucia.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Investors can use national or international arbitration regarding contracts entered with the state. Saint Lucia does not have a bilateral investment treaty or a free trade agreement with an investment chapter with the United States. Embassy Bridgetown is not aware of any current investment disputes in Saint Lucia.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is the domestic arbitration body. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s Court of Appeal also provides mediation. The judgements handed down by this court are recognized and enforceable under the local court system in Saint Lucia. Court proceedings are generally transparent and non-discriminatory.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Saint Lucia has a limited bankruptcy framework that grants certain rights to debtors and creditors. The act was updated in 2020.

Investment Incentives

The Government of Saint Lucia provides incentives to encourage investment by providing tax and non-tax concessions to businesses that can add value to the country’s economic development. Approval for incentives is granted by the Cabinet upon application, taking into consideration the type, size, scope, and employment potential of the business.

Saint Lucia’s Trade License Act, Aliens Licensing Act, International Business Companies Act, Development Incentives Act, Special Development Areas Act, Income Tax Act, Free Zones Act, Fiscal Incentives Act, Tourism Incentives, and Tourism Stimulus and Investments Act together constitute a broad framework of incentives for foreign investors.

Except for pork and chicken, there are no requirements for an enterprise to purchase a fixed percentage of goods from local sources. Companies purchasing chicken must purchase a minimum of 28 percent locally produced chicken. Companies purchasing pork must purchase a minimum of 40 percent locally produced pork.

The Fiscal Incentives Act of 1974 provides for fiscal incentives to facilitate local and foreign investment in the productive sectors of Saint Lucia’s economy. The law gives export-oriented manufacturing enterprises special consideration. Investors may apply for incentives with the relevant ministry or ministries, providing a copy of the application to Invest Saint Lucia. The criteria for fiscal incentive qualification are that an enterprise must be incorporated and registered in Saint Lucia; contribute to the economic development of Saint Lucia; utilize domestic human and natural resources; form linkages with other economic sectors; contribute to foreign exchange earnings; train local personnel; and introduce plant upgrades via technological transfers.

The Fiscal Incentives Act provides a list of incentives, including a tax holiday of up to 15 years for approved projects, a waiver of import duty on imported machinery and plant equipment, a waiver of import duty on imported raw and packaging materials, and an export allowance on export earnings. Under the Fiscal Incentives Act, four types of enterprises qualify for tax holidays. The length of the tax holiday for the first three depends on the amount of value added in Saint Lucia. The fourth type, known as enclave industry, must produce goods exclusively for export outside the CARICOM region. The government amended the Fiscal Incentives Act in early 2020 to expand incentives offered to local businesses as a means of spurring development and investment. The Fiscal Incentives Act now includes four subsectors of the service industry: creative industry, professional services, spa and wellness, and information and communications technology.

EnterpriseValue AddedMaximum Tax Holiday
Group I50% or more15 years
Group II25% to 50%12 years
Group III10% to 25%10 years
EnclaveEnclave15 years

The standard corporate income tax rate is 30 percent. An International Business Company (IBC) may elect either to be exempted from paying income tax or to be liable for income tax on the chargeable income of the company at the rate of 1 percent. An IBC is not subject to stamp duties, withholding tax, or capital gains tax. Amendments to the act passed in 2017 sought to encourage IBCs to establish headquarters in Saint Lucia by offering various incentives, including a waiver of customs duty on materials, articles, or equipment used exclusively by the company’s head office, and exemption from income tax for employees.

Various special licensing requirements apply to the acquisition of land, development of buildings, expansion of existing construction, and certain aspects of the tourism industry. Individuals or corporate bodies who are not citizens and seek to acquire land may require a license prior to execution, depending upon the amount of land.

The Special Development Areas Act encourages investment in designated areas throughout the country. These areas include Vieux-Fort, Anse la Raye, Soufriere, Canaries, Choc Estate, and Dennery. Special concessions offered under this law include exemption on stamp duty and import duty on inputs for the construction of new buildings and the renovation or refurbishment of existing buildings; land and house tax; stamp duty payable by vendors and purchasers on the initial purchase of property; higher tax allowances; and accelerated depreciation. Types of businesses that may qualify for these concessions are residential complexes, commercial or industrial buildings, facilities directed towards the improvement or expansion of services to the tourism sector, water-based activities, tourism projects highlighting the heritage and natural environment of Saint Lucia, arts and cultural investments, agriculture-based activities, and fisheries-based activities.

The Tourism Incentives Act effectively provides for earnings exemption from income tax. This exemption would apply to a tourism project managed by or on behalf of a company entitled to distribute profits to shareholders or debenture holders as capital monies. The project would be free of tax during the two-year period following the end of the tax holiday. The act also allows for customs duty exemptions and permits the duty-free importation of materials and equipment used exclusively in connection with the construction and equipping of the tourism project. The Tourism Stimulus and Investment Act also allows for the waiver of VAT and property tax.

Though the Saint Lucia Development Bank, the government offers energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives for residential and commercial buildings. More information can be found at .

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Saint Lucia maintains a Free Zone. It is an enclosed area treated for customs purposes as lying outside the customs territory of the island. Goods of foreign origin may be held pending eventual transshipment, re-exportation and, in some cases, importation into the local market without payment of customs duties. There are various types of companies operating in the Free Zone, including distributors of appliances, furniture, household and office supplies/items; manufacturers; duty-free suppliers of liquor, cigarettes, fragrances, wines, and pharmaceuticals.

The Free Zone Act aims to promote export development and foreign investment projects in a “bureaucracy-free, duty-free, and tax-free” environment for prescribed activities. Incentives include exemption from customs duties, taxes, and related charges on all classes of goods entering the Free Zone for commercial or operating purposes. There are no restrictions or taxes on foreign exchange transactions and no taxes on dividends for the first 20 years of operation. There are also no work permit fees for management personnel of Free Zone businesses, and no import or export licenses or price controls. Finally, there is no company income tax for the first five years, and thereafter a reduced corporate income tax.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

The Government of Saint Lucia does not mandate local employment. However, the government expects foreign investors to add value to the local economy, which can be achieved by providing local employment.

The 2006 Labor Code provides guidelines for employment, dismissal, and payment of severance and other benefits. It also defines permanent employment, fixed term employment, and contract for service.

The government requires all non-CARICOM citizens and companies intending to conduct business in Saint Lucia and who own more than 49 percent of the company’s shares to obtain a trade license. The Ministry of Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs issues trade licenses. Under the Foreign National and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Regulation, anyone outside OECS seeking to conduct business or be employed in Saint Lucia must apply for a work permit. Applications are available from the Labor Department of the ministry with responsibility for labor. There are no excessively onerous visa, residency, or work permit requirements.

While there are no formal performance requirements, the government encourages investments that create jobs and increase exports and foreign exchange earnings. Local laws do not place any restrictions on foreign investment in Saint Lucia. Foreign investors are entitled to receive the same treatment as nationals of Saint Lucia. Foreign investors seeking to purchase property for residential or commercial purposes must obtain an Alien Landholding License. No sectors are officially closed to private enterprise, although some activities, such as telecommunications, utilities, broadcasting, banking, and insurance require government licenses. There is no restriction on foreign ownership of a local enterprise or participation in a joint venture. There are no requirements for foreign information technology providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to surveillance (e.g. back doors into hardware and software keys for encryption, etc.).

Real Property

Civil law protects physical property and mortgage claims. There are some special license requirements pertaining to acquisition of land, development of buildings, expansion of existing construction, and special standards for various aspects of the tourism industry. Individuals or corporate bodies who are not CARICOM nationals and who seek to acquire land must apply for and obtain an alien landholder’s license as required under the Alien Landholding Act prior to acquisition.

Intellectual Property Rights

Saint Lucia has two primary provisions governing the protection of intellectual property rights. They are the copyrights act and the trademarks act. The country is not listed in the U.S. Trade Representative’s 2023 Special 301 Report or in its 2022 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy.

Copyright Act

This act protects literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, creative products, and performances in Saint Lucia. To be eligible for copyright protection, the work must be written down, recorded, or otherwise fixed in a material form. Storage of the work in a computer can be regarded as a recording of the work in a material form.

Trademarks Act

A trademark may be registered for goods, services, or both. Once registered, the owner has the exclusive rights to use the trademark, authorize its use by another person, and obtain relief under the act if the holder’s rights have been violated. A registered trademark is deemed personal property and is enforceable like the rights of personal property.

While the legal structures governing intellectual property are generally strong, enforcement is inconsistent. The Attorney General is responsible for administering intellectual property laws. The Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property Office administers the registration of patents, trademarks, and service marks.

Saint Lucia is a signatory to the Washington Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, the WIPO Copyright Treaty, the Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks, and the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms. Saint Lucia is also a signatory to the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, and Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organization. In addition, Saint Lucia has signed the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Article 66 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (2001) establishing the CSME commits all 15 members to implement stronger intellectual property protection and enforcement. The CARIFORUM-EU EPA contains the most detailed obligations with respect to intellectual property in any trade agreement to which Saint Lucia is a party. The EPA gives recognition to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property. 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 (TRIPS).” As a member of the WTO, Saint Lucia recognizes the WTO TRIPS Agreement.

The Comptroller of Customs spearheads the preventative and enforcement aspects of intellectual property rights protection, which includes the detention, seizure, and forfeiture of counterfeit goods. The Customs and Excise Department conducts investigations of customs offenses and administers fines and penalties.

For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local intellectual property offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at  .

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Saint Lucia is a member of the ECCU. As such, it is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE) and the Regional Government Securities Market. The ECSE is a regional securities market established by the ECCB and licensed under the Securities Act of 2001, a uniform regional body of legislation governing the buying and selling of financial products for the eight member territories. It is regulated by the Eastern Caribbean Regulatory Commission.

The ECSE and its subsidiaries, the Eastern Caribbean Central Securities Depository and the Eastern Caribbean Central Securities Registry, facilitate activities on the ECSE. The main activities are the primary issuance and secondary trading of corporate and sovereign securities, the clearance and settlement of issues and trades, maintaining securities holders’ records, and providing custodial, registration, transfer agency, and paying agency services while respecting listed and non-listed securities. As of March 2022, there were 164 securities listed on the ECSE, comprising 135 sovereign debt instruments, 13 equities, and 16 corporate debt securities. Market capitalization stood at $703 million (1.9 billion Eastern Caribbean dollars. Saint Lucia is open to portfolio investment.

Saint Lucia has accepted the obligations of Article VIII of the International Monetary Fund Agreement, Sections 2, 3, and 4, and maintains an exchange system free of restrictions on making payments and transfers for current international transactions. Foreign tax credit is allowed for the lesser of the tax payable in the foreign country or the tax charged under Saint Lucia tax law. The private sector has access to credit on the local market through loans, purchases of non-equity securities, and trade credits and other accounts receivable that establish a claim for repayment.

Money and Banking System

The eight participating governments of the ECCU have passed the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Agreement Act. The act provides for the establishment of the ECCB, its management and administration, its currency, relations with financial institutions, relations with the participating governments, foreign exchange operations, external reserves, and other related matters. Saint Lucia is a signatory to this agreement and the ECCB controls Saint Lucia’s currency and regulates its domestic banks.

The Banking Act (2015) is a harmonized piece of legislation across the ECCU. The Minister of Finance usually acts in consultation with, and on the recommendation of, the ECCB with respect to those areas of responsibility within the Minister of Finance’s portfolio.

Domestic and foreign banks can establish operations in Saint Lucia. The Banking Act requires all commercial banks and other institutions to be licensed in order to conduct any banking business. The ECCB regulates financial institutions. As part of ongoing supervision, licensed financial institutions are required to submit monthly, quarterly, and annual performance reports to the ECCB.

In its latest annual report, the ECCB listed the commercial banking sector in Saint Lucia as stable. Assets of commercial banks totaled $2.8 billion (6.4 billion Eastern Caribbean dollars) at the last reporting period of 2019. In its latest annual report, the ECCB listed the commercial banking sector in Saint Lucia as stable. Saint Lucia is well-served by resident bank and non-bank financial institutions.

The Caribbean region has witnessed a withdrawal of correspondent banking services by the U.S. and European banks. CARICOM remains committed to engaging with key stakeholders on the issue and appointed a Committee of Ministers of Finance on Correspondent Banking 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 (CDBC) consumer-to-merchant transaction took place in Grenada in February 2021 following a multi-year development process. The ECCB and BITT signed a memorandum of understanding in March 2018 and launched their fintech pilot project and regulatory sandbox in four member countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia a year later. In March 2021, DCash was officially rolled out in Saint Lucia. After some challenges in early 2022, the DCash online platform remained online and available for transactions during the reporting period.

In December 2022, the government enacted the Virtual Assets Business Bill to regulate virtual currencies with the expectation that they will become increasingly prevalent. The bill is intended to facilitate the ease of doing business in a cashless society, and to combat theft, fraud, money laundering, Ponzi schemes, and terrorist financing. All businesses in this sector must register under this Act. This bill was drafted by the ECCB.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

Saint Lucia is a member of the ECCU and the ECCB. The currency of exchange is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD). Saint Lucia has a fully liberalized foreign exchange system. The Eastern Caribbean dollar has been pegged to the United States dollar at a rate of XCD 2.70 to $1.00 since 1976. As a result, the Eastern Caribbean dollar does not fluctuate, creating a stable currency environment for trade and investment in Saint Lucia.

There are no restrictions or limitations placed on foreign investors in converting, transferring, or repatriating funds associated with an investment. Funds can also be freely converted into any major world currency.

Remittance Policies

Companies registered in Saint Lucia have the right to repatriate all capital, royalties, dividends, and profits. There are no restrictions on the repatriation of dividends for totally foreign-owned firms.

As a member of the OECS, there are no exchange controls in Saint Lucia, and parties can invoice foreign trade transactions in any currency. Importers are not required to make prior deposits in local funds and are not required to surrender export proceeds to government authorities or to authorized banks. There are no controls on transfers of funds. Saint Lucia is a member of the CFATF.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Neither the Government of Saint Lucia, nor the ECCB (of which Saint Lucia is a member) maintains a sovereign wealth fund.

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Saint Lucia work in partnership with ministries or under their remit, carrying out specific ministerial responsibilities. There are 39 SOEs in Saint Lucia operating in areas such as tourism, investment services, broadcasting and media, solid waste management, and agriculture.

SOEs are wholly owned government entities and are headed by boards of directors to which senior management reports. A list of SOEs in Saint Lucia is available at  .

Privatization Program

Saint Lucia currently does not have a targeted privatization program.

Climate Issues

Saint Lucia remains susceptible to natural disasters and other effects due to climate change. Saint Lucia has developed a multi-stakeholder policy framework on the environment that focuses on climate resilience and adaptation, disaster risk reduction, protection of biodiversity, effective natural resources, and environmental management through the enforcement of policies, legislation and regulations. The National Environmental Policy was amended in 2019 to lay out a coherent strategy to adopt and implement policies and regulations as it relates to hazard mitigation, climate change adaption, and developing planning processes and procedures. Saint Lucia is party to the Paris Agreement. In 2021, the government updated its Nationally Determined Contribution to the United Nations to signal its commitment to limiting the global average temperature increase and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Saint Lucia has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption, notably the Integrity in Public Life Act of 2004. Government agencies involved in enforcement of anti-corruption laws include the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Integrity Commission, and the Financial Intelligence Unit.

The government recently announced that it intends to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate acts of alleged public corruption. Parliament passed a special prosecutor act, which gives legal authority to a special prosecutor to institute both civil and criminal proceedings against any public official who might have engaged in acts of malfeasance or is suspected of misappropriating state resources and assets for personal gain. The act has yet to be implemented.

The country is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and acceded to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2011.

Vacant (previous Chairman resigned in September 2021 and his successor is yet to be named)
Integrity Commission
2nd Floor, Graham Louisy Administrative Building, Waterfront Castries, Saint Lucia
(758) 468-2187

Paul Thompson
Financial Intelligence Authority
Gablewoods North P.O., Castries LC02 501, Saint Lucia
(758) 451-7126

Saint Lucia 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 2026.

The law provides for a minimum wage for some sectors, including office clerks, shop assistants, and messengers. Most categories of workers received wages higher than minimum wage, based on prevailing market conditions. The legislated workweek is 40 hours, with a maximum of eight hours per day.

The law specifies the right of most workers to form and join independent unions, bargain collectively, and conduct legal strikes. The law prohibits antiunion discrimination, and workers fired for union activity have the right to reinstatement. Penalties were not commensurate with those for other laws involving denials of civil rights, such as discrimination.

The law restricts the right to strike and bargain collectively by police, corrections service, fire department, health service, and utilities (electricity, water, and telecommunications) on the grounds these organizations provide essential services. These workers must give 30 days’ notice before striking. Once workers give notice, authorities usually refer the matter to an ad hoc labor tribunal set up under the Essential Services Act. The government selects tribunal members following rules to assure tripartite representation. These ad hoc tribunals attempt to resolve disputes primarily through mandatory arbitration.

The government generally respected freedom of association, and employers generally respected the right to collective bargaining. Workers exercised the right to strike and bargain collectively.

The law prohibits forced labor and provides for protection from slavery and forced labor; however, forced labor is not criminally prohibited unless it results from human trafficking.

The law prohibits discrimination based on race, skin color, sex, religion, national extraction, social origin, ethnic origin, political opinion or affiliation, age, disability, serious family responsibility, pregnancy, marital status, and HIV or AIDS status. The law requires that men and women receive equal pay for equal work but sets different rates of severance pay for men and women. The law prohibits employers from terminating employees on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The government set occupational safety and health (OSH) standards that were current and appropriate. The government conducted OSH inspections, but the number of inspectors was not adequate to enforce compliance. Penalties for violations of OSH laws were not commensurate with those for analogous crimes, such as negligence. Workers could remove themselves from situations that endangered health or safety without jeopardy to their employment, and authorities effectively protected employees in these cases.

Labor laws, including overtime rules and OSH standards, apply to all workers, whether in the formal or informal sector. Special legislation covers work hours for shop assistants, agricultural workers, domestic workers, and industrial workers.

The labor code provides penalties that were not commensurate with those for similar crimes such as fraud, but the government effectively enforced the law. The Ministry of Public Service, Home Affairs, Labour, and Gender Affairs was responsible for monitoring implementation of labor laws. Employers were generally responsive to ministry requests to address labor code violations, and authorities rarely levied fines.

Labor inspectors effectively monitored compliance with standards governing pensions, terminations, vacation, sick leave, contracts, and hours of work. Inspectors have the authority to initiate sanctions, institute proceedings before the tribunal, or hold informal inquiries when complaints are brought to their notice or are found during inspections.

The informal sector was mainly composed of micro and small businesses and accounted for a large share of employment. According to International Labor Organization statistics for 2022, the sector made up approximately 31.2 percent of the work force and key sectors. According to the same study, the informal economy included a wide cross section of sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, wholesale, retail, transportation, accommodation, and other service activities. The government does not legally define or collect statistics on the informal economy, whose workers do not benefit from employment-related social protections.

Saint Lucia is classified as an upper-middle income country under the World Bank’s definition. The DFC may consider investments in certain projects in upper-middle-income countries that address key U.S. government priorities.

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 Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) N/A N/A 2021 $2,070
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2021 $254.0 BEA data available at
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2021 $7.0 BEA data available at
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2021 94% UNCTAD data available at

* Source for Host Country Data: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank  . However no current figures of GDP for Saint Lucia were available.

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Data not available.

Political/Economic Section
U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States
Tel: 1-246-227-4000

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. Citizenship by Investment
    6. Competition and Antitrust Laws
    7. Expropriation and Compensation
    8. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
    9. 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. Climate Issues
  10. 9. 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: Saint Lucia
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