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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).  In the most recent available figures from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the country’s 2022 estimated gross domestic product (GDP) was projected at $871.4 million (2,355 billion Eastern Caribbean dollars). In 2023, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has continued to recover from the effects of the 2021 volcanic eruption, Hurricane Elsa, and the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 forecast the Vincentian economy to grow by 6.0% by the end of 2023.

The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines strongly encourages foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly in industries that create jobs and earn foreign exchange.  Through the Invest Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Authority (Invest SVG), the government facilitates FDI and maintains an open dialogue with current and potential investors.

The country continues to promote economic diversification and investment in several niche markets, particularly tourism, international financial services, agro-processing, scientific and medical research, light manufacturing, renewable energy, creative industries, and information and communication technologies.  The government is also pushing ahead with planned upgrades to the healthcare sector.

Supported by the National Climate Change Policy and National Adaption Plan, green and blue investment opportunities are encouraged particularly in critical sectors such as tourism, general infrastructure, energy, agriculture, and light manufacturing. The government continues to place priority in the tourism sector as it continues to show signs of recovery with increasing visitor arrivals in 2023. Long awaited construction projects in the tourism sector and civil infrastructure are expected to commence within the calendar year and will provide a much-needed economic boost.

The government does not impose limits on foreign control, nor are there requirements for local ownership or ownership in locally registered companies.  The island’s legal system is based on the British common law system.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines does not have a bilateral investment treaty with the United
States.  It has double-taxation treaties with the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

In 2016, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines signed an intergovernmental agreement in observance of the United States’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), making it mandatory for banks in the country 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  45 of 180  
Global Innovation Index  2022 N/A  
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions)  2021  $7 M 
World Bank GNI per capita  2021  $8,720  

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, through Invest SVG, strongly encourages foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly in industries that create jobs and earn foreign currency.  The government is open to all investment, but is currently prioritizing investment in niche markets, particularly tourism, international financial services, agro-processing, light manufacturing, renewable energy, scientific and medical research, creative industries, and information and communication technologies.

Invest SVG’s FDI policy is designed to attract investment into priority sectors.  It advises the government on the formation and implementation of policies and programs that attract and facilitate investment.  The government offers special incentive packages for foreign investments in the hotel industry and light manufacturing.  The government offers other incentive packages on an ad hoc basis.  Invest SVG promotes and facilitates both local and foreign direct investment through a range of services. More information is available from its website: .

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

There are no limits on foreign control in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, nor are there requirements for local investment or ownership in locally registered companies, although non-nationals must apply for a license from the Prime Minister’s Office to acquire more than 50 percent of a company.  An attorney must submit this application and Cabinet must approve it.  Companies holding at least five acres of land may restrict or prohibit the issue or transfer of their shares or debentures to non-Vincentian nationals.

The government has not officially closed any industries to private investment, although some activities such as telecommunications, utilities, broadcasting, banking, and insurance require a government license.

Invest SVG has the authority to screen and review FDI projects.  The review process is transparent and contingent on the size of capital investment and the project’s projected economic impact.  The investor must complete a series of steps to obtain a business license.  These steps are listed at .  All potential investors seeking an incentive package must submit their proposals for review by Invest SVG to ensure the project is consistent with the nation’s laws and interests and would provide economic benefits to the country. Local enterprises generally welcome joint ventures with foreign investors to access technology, expertise, markets, and capital.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

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

Business Facilitation

Invest SVG facilitates domestic and FDI in priority sectors and advises the government on the formation and implementation of policies and programs to attract investment.  Invest SVG provides business support services and market intelligence to all investors.  It also reviews all investment projects applying for government incentives to ensure they conform to national interests and provide economic benefits to the country.  Its website is . In addition to the Invest SVG website, the country offers an online guide that is useful for navigating the laws, rules, procedures, and registration requirements for foreign investors.  The guide is available at  .

The general practice is to retain an attorney to prepare all incorporation documents.  Local laws dictate that a business must register with the Commerce and Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), the Ministry of Trade, the Inland Revenue Department, and the National Insurance Service.  The CIPO has an online information portal that describes the steps to register a business in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.  There is no online registration process, but the required forms are available online.  These must be printed and submitted to the CIPO.  It takes about two business days to register a business. More information is available at .

Outward Investment

There is no restriction on domestic investors seeking to do business abroad.  Local companies are actively encouraged to take advantage of export opportunities specifically related to the country’s membership in the OECS Economic Union and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), which enhances the competitiveness of the local and regional private sectors across traditional and emerging high-potential markets.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has not signed a bilateral investment treaty with the United States.  The country, however, has bilateral tax treaties with the United States, as well as with Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has signed agreements on the reciprocal protection of investment with Germany and the UAE. The country also has a double taxation treaty with the UAE.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is also party to the following: 

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

The Treaty of Chaguaramas established the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in 1973 to promote economic integration among its 15 member states.  Investors operating in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have preferential access to the entire CARICOM market.  The 2001 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas established 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.

Organization of Eastern Caribbean States 

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 Vincent and the Grenadines 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 the CARIFORUM states into the world economy by improving trade capacity and creating an investment-conducive environment.  The EPA 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 the 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 (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

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines uses transparent policies and laws to foster competition and establish clear rules for foreign and domestic investors in the areas of tax, labor, environment, health, and safety.  Accounting, legal, and regulatory practices are generally transparent and consistent with international norms.  The International Financial Accounting Standards, which stem from the General Accepted Accounting Principles, govern the accounting profession in the country.

Rulemaking and regulatory authority rests in the unicameral House of Assembly, which has fifteen elected members and six appointed senators who sit for a term of up to five years.  The Public Accounts Committee and Director of Audits ensure the government follows administrative processes.

National laws govern all regulations relating to foreign investment.  Ministries develop these laws, which are then drafted by the Ministry of Legal Affairs.  Laws pertaining to Invest SVG also govern FDI.  Invest SVG has the main responsibility for investment supervision, while the Ministry of Economic Planning, Sustainable Development, Industry, Information, and Labor tracks investments to collect information for national statistics and reporting purposes.

The government publishes most draft bills in local newspapers for public comment.  In addition, the government circulates bills at stakeholder meetings.  Some bills and laws are published on the government website at , though the only official source is the printed Saint Vincent Gazette. The government sometimes establishes a select committee to suggest amendments to specific draft bills.  In some instances, these mechanisms may also apply to investment laws and regulations.  There is no obligation for the government to consider proposed amendments prior to implementation.  The government discloses information on public finances and debt obligations.  The annual budget address can be found online at  .

The country’s membership in regional organizations, particularly the OECS and its Economic Union, commits the state to implement all appropriate measures to fulfill its various treaty obligations.  For example, the Banking Act, which establishes a single banking space and the harmonization of banking regulations in the Economic Union, is uniformly in force in the eight member territories of the ECCU, although there are some minor differences in implementation from country to country.  The enforcement mechanisms of these regulations include penalties or legal sanctions. The most recent Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Mutual Evaluation assessment found Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to be largely compliant.  The ECCB is the supervisory authority over financial institutions registered under the Banking Act of 2015.

International Regulatory Considerations

As a member of the OECS Economic and Currency Union, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines subscribes to a set of principles and policies outlined in the Revised Treaty of Basseterre.  The relationship between national and regional systems is such that each participating member state is expected to coordinate and adopt, where possible, common national policies aimed at the progressive harmonization of relevant policies and systems across the region.  Thus, the country must implement regionally developed regulations, such as legislation passed under the OECS Authority, unless it seeks specific concessions.

The country’s Bureau of Standards is a statutory body which prepares and promulgates standards in relation to goods, services, processes, and practices.  As a signatory to the WTO Agreement on the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines must notify the TBT Committee of all draft national standards are harmonized to meet international norms in order to avoid creating technical barriers to trade.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in 2017 and subsequently notified its Category A measures.  Included in the Trade Facilitation Agreement are measures to improve risk management techniques and a post-clearance audit system to eliminate delays and congestion at the port.  A full list of measures undertaken pursuant to the TFA is available at .

As a member of CARICOM, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 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.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

The country’s legal system is based on the British common law system.  The constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary.  The judicial system consists of lower courts, called magistrates’ courts, and a family court.  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 (commercial) matters and makes determinations on constitutional matters.  Parties may appeal first to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, a court that hears appeals from all OECS members.  The final court of appeal is the Judicial Committee of the UK Privy Council.

The country has a strong judicial system that upholds the sanctity of contracts and prevents unwarranted discrimination towards foreign investors.  The government treats foreign investors and local investors equally with respect to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, and sale or other disposition of investments in its territory.  The police and court systems are generally unbiased in commercial matters.

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, while the Vincentian government has considered moving to replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the CCJ as the country’s highest court of appeal.  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is subject to the original jurisdiction of the CCJ.

The United States and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 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

Through Invest SVG, the government provides guidance on the relevant laws, rules, procedures, and reporting requirements for investors.  Interested parties should contact Invest SVG to initiate the process. The website  serves as the primary source of all information relating to investment. The website lists priority sectors, areas of opportunity, country information, laws and regulations, facilitation and promotion services; and contact information.

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 Vincent and the Grenadines 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 Vincent and the Grenadines.

Expropriation and Compensation

Under the Land Acquisition Act, the government may acquire land for a public purpose.  The government must serve a notice of acquisition to the person from whom the land is acquired.  A Board of Assessment determines compensation and files its award in the High Court.  The value of the land is based on the amount for which the land would be sold on the open market by a willing seller.  Under the Alien’s (Land-Holding Regulation) Act, the government can hold properties forfeit without compensation if the terms of investment are not met.  The U.S. Embassy is not aware of any outstanding expropriation claims or nationalization of foreign enterprises in Sain Vincent and the Grenadines.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States and the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, also known as the New York Arbitration Convention.

The court system and bureaucracy are widely seen as slow and are considered the main hindrances to timely resolution of commercial disputes.   Through the Arbitration Act of 1952, the government makes provision for arbitration in the local courts and for the execution of foreign arbitral awards.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Investors are permitted to use national or international arbitration regarding contracts entered into with the state.  The local courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards issued against the government. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines does not have a bilateral investment treaty or a free trade agreement with an investment chapter with the United States.  The U.S. Embassy is not aware of any current investment disputes in the country.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is the domestic arbitration body, and the local courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards.  The Trade Disputes (Arbitration and Inquiry) Act provides that either party to an existing trade dispute can report it to the Governor General.  The Governor General may, if both parties consent, refer the dispute to an arbitration panel for settlement.  The arbitration panel must issue an award that is consistent with national employment laws.  Parties can be represented by legal counsel before the arbitration panel.  These bodies may conduct proceedings in public or private.  The Trade Disputes Act provides that alternative dispute mechanisms are available as a means for settling disputes between two private parties.  The government recognizes voluntary mediation or conciliation as dispute resolution mechanisms.  The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s Court of Appeals also provides mediation.

Bankruptcy Regulations

The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act with its amendments and the Banking and Insolvency Regulations of 2015 govern the country’s bankruptcy framework and grants certain rights to debtors and creditors. This framework makes provisions for both corporate and individual insolvency, the rehabilitation of the insolvent debtor, the creation of the office of the Supervisor of Insolvency, and for other related matters.

Investment Incentives

Through the Fiscal Incentives Act, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines offers many incentives to investors and provides the necessary information on the laws, criteria, and application procedures to qualify for these incentives. These incentives are available to all foreign investors, including those from unrepresented groups such as women.

The list of incentives includes exemption from or reduction of duty payments on the importation or purchase of materials and other equipment for use in construction and operation of the business. Other incentives are the exemption from or a reduction of duty on the importation or purchase of vehicles for use in operation of the business, and a reduction of property tax of up to 10% for land and buildings used in the operation of the business.

The government also provides tax holidays as an investment incentive. Group I enterprises (50 percent or more local value added) enjoy a 15-year tax holiday; Group II enterprises (25 to 49 percent local value added) are granted 12 years; Group III enterprises (10 to 24 percent local value added) receive ten years. Enclave enterprises (producing wholly for markets outside of CARICOM) enjoy a 15-year tax holiday. The Industry Unit under the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Information Technology administers this act. These fiscal incentives may be granted to manufacturing and processing companies producing “Approved Products.” Companies must apply to the Cabinet to become “Approved Enterprises” producing such products. Local value is determined by the percentage of annual sales not contributed by imported materials and services, non-CARICOM national labor, profits and other income payments distributed to members outside of CARICOM, or depreciation on imported machinery and equipment. Tax holidays are also granted to capital-intensive industries investing at least $9.25 million (25 million Eastern Caribbean dollars).

Local laws dictate that companies must meet export performance requirements to take advantage of certain tax incentives. For example, enclave enterprises must produce goods exclusively for export outside the CARICOM region. Foreigners may finance investments using domestic or foreign capital sources. The Fiscal Incentives Act confers income tax credits in the form of export allowance to qualifying enterprises for the export of approved products.

In the tourism sector, the Hotels Aid Act provides incentives for the renovation, refurbishment, and expansion of existing hotels and for the construction of new hotels. Concessions for expansions of not less than five guest rooms are also available. The Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Sustainable Development and Culture administers the act.

The maximum corporate tax rate currently stands at 28%, except for companies granted tax holidays under the Fiscal Incentives Act. Companies manufacturing goods for local or export markets and which have maintained a special account conforming to Comptroller of Inland Revenue requirements have access to reduced tax rates. Offshore businesses are also subject to value added tax (VAT) on taxable goods imported into Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. VAT is 16%. An international company may import machinery and equipment free from certain taxes and customs duties if the imports are capital goods to be used in a company’s business.

The government recognizes trusts if they are in writing and follow the formal requirements for a deed or settlement under the International Trust Act. The act recognizes several types of international trusts: protective or spendthrift trusts, charitable trusts, and purpose trusts. A Registrar of Trusts has direct regulatory responsibilities relating to registration, certificate issuance, and review of trust documentation. At least one trustee must be registered and licensed for an international trust to be registered. The government confers certain benefits on registered trusts, including exemptions from various taxes and duties provided the settler was not insolvent at the time the trust was created or did not become insolvent because of the creation of the trust. The exemptions include income tax, excise tax, customs duties, and stamp duty exemptions. These are applicable if certain conditions are met, one of which being that the trust must not be domiciled in the country. The Comptroller of Inland Revenue is empowered to assess a trust’s eligibility for tax exemptions and may require the registered trustee to provide financial information.

According to the Trust Act, if at least one beneficiary of a registered trust becomes a resident after the trust is registered, and if the trust is in good standing, the fact of the residency of the beneficiary will not invalidate the trust. Neither the trust nor its beneficiaries will be entitled to tax exemptions for any year during which the trust had one or more resident beneficiaries. An international trust, except one that is an international company, will not become void or voidable due to a settler’s bankruptcy, insolvency, or liquidation, the law of the settler’s domicile or ordinary residence notwithstanding.

While there is no formal legislation in relation to incentives in the information and telecommunications sector, commercial presence and establishment is at the discretion of the Cabinet on advice from the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.

In the areas of clean and renewable energy, the government has currently revamped its policy, legislation, and regulatory framework to include net billing, feed-in tariffs and interconnection. The government continues to purse renewable energy investments in wind, solar, and geo-thermal, primarily on a commercial level. Similarly, the government is also interested in expanding energy storage, energy efficiency and low-carbon transport (hybrid and electric vehicles) capabilities. So far, tax incentives exist for renewable energy improvements such as purchasing solar photovoltaic equipment.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

The Export Free Zones Act of 1999 provides for the designation or establishment of export free zones, which allow for the duty-free import of inputs for processing and export and other approved activities.  While allowable under law, there are currently no operational foreign trade zones or free trade zones in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

As a member of the WTO, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 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. There are no requirements for participation either by nationals or by the government in foreign investment projects. There is no requirement that enterprises must purchase a fixed percentage of goods or technology from local sources, but the government encourages local sourcing. The government does not mandate local employment.

The Employment of Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens Act provides that foreign nationals or Commonwealth citizens must obtain valid work permits. The ministry responsible for national security oversees work permit applications. The government may modify or cancel work permits after a seven-day notice if the holder fails to comply with the conditions of the permit.

There is no requirement that enterprises purchase a fixed percentage of goods from local sources. There are no requirements for foreign information technology providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to surveillance (back doors into hardware and software keys for encryption, etc.). The government passed the Privacy Act in 2003; however, it has not adopted any specific data protection legislation.

Real Property

The Aliens’ Land Holding Act regulates the holding of land and mortgages related to land by individuals who are non-nationals and companies controlled by non-nationals. Non-nationals must apply for and be granted a license to hold land. The breach of any condition of the license authorizes forfeiture to the government of the interest held by the non-national. License conditions may require that land be developed within a specific timeframe. Non-nationals must use a locally licensed attorney to apply for a land license. The applications are processed through the office of the Prime Minister. If approved, the non-national must file the license at the Registry of the High Court. The Registry collects all applicable registration fees and stamp duties.

Intellectual Property Rights

Saint. Vincent and the Grenadines has a legislative framework protecting intellectual property rights (IPR). While legal structures governing IPR are adequate, enforcement measures are inconsistent. 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. The administration of IPR laws is the responsibility of the Office of the Attorney General. The Commerce and Intellectual Property Office administers the registration of patents, trademarks, and service marks. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. It is also a member of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization and is a signatory to its treaties.

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

The Enforcement Division of the Customs and Excise Department spearheads the preventative and enforcement aspects of IPR protection, which includes the detention, seizure, and forfeiture of counterfeit goods. The Enforcement Division also conducts investigations of customs offenses and administers fines and penalties.

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

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 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 Securities Regulatory Commission. 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.

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 Vincent and the Grenadines is open to portfolio investment.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines accepted the obligations of Article VIII of the IIMF Agreement, sections 2, 3, and 4, and maintains an exchange system free of restrictions on making international payments and transfers. St. Vincent and the Grenadines does not have a credit rating bureau.

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 Vincent and the Grenadines is a signatory to this agreement. Therefore, the ECCB controls the country’s currency and regulates its domestic banks.

The Banking Act (2015) is a harmonized piece of legislation across all ECCU member states. The ECCB and the Ministers of Finance of member states jointly carry out banking supervision under the act. The Minister of Finance usually act in consultation with the ECCB with respect to those areas of responsibility within the minister’s portfolio.

Domestic and foreign banks can establish operations in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Banking Act requires all commercial banks and other institutions to be licensed. 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 Vincent and the Grenadines as stable. Assets of commercial banks totaled $833 million (2.25 billion Eastern Caribbean dollars) at the end of the last reported year of 2019. The reserve requirement for commercial banks was six percent of deposit liabilities.

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 (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, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia a year later. In March 2021, DCash was officially rolled out. Bitt launched DCash in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in August 2021 to aid in the recovery of the volcanic eruption on the island. After some challenges in early 2022, the DCash online platform remained online and available for transactions during the reporting period.

In 2022, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines approved the Virtual Assets Bill in Parliament. The bill regulates 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 Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the ECCU and the ECCB. The currency of exchange is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD). As a member of the OECS, its foreign exchange system is fully liberalized. The XCD has been pegged to the U.S. 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.

Remittance Policies

Companies registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have the right to repatriate all capital, royalties, dividends, and profits free of all taxes or any other charges on foreign exchange transactions. International companies are exempt from taxation. Under present regulations, there are no personal income taxes, estate taxes, corporate income taxes, or withholding taxes for international companies operating in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. International companies are also exempt from competitive tax for 25 years.

Only banks may make currency conversions. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the CFATF.

In 2014, the government signed an intergovernmental agreement with the United States to facilitate compliance for FATCA, which makes it mandatory for Vincentian banks to report the banking information of U.S. citizens.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Neither the government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines nor the ECCB, maintains a sovereign wealth fund.

There are several state-owned enterprises (SOEs) operating in the following sectors: water, transportation, housing, transportation (ports), electricity, tourism, information and communication, telecommunications, investment and investment services, financial services, fisheries, agriculture, sports and culture, civil engineering, and infrastructure.

SOEs in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are wholly owned government entities. They are headed by boards of directors to which senior managers report. They are governed by their respective legislation and do not generally pose a threat to investors, as they do not have a mandate to compete with private-sector companies. There is no single published list of SOEs, though information about individual SOEs is available.

Privatization Program

There are no targeted privatization programs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The government and the public view responsible business conduct positively. The private sector is involved in projects that benefit society, including in support of environmental, social, and cultural causes. Individuals benefit from business-sponsored initiatives when employees of local and foreign-owned enterprises volunteer and when companies make monetary or in-kind donations to local causes.

The NGO community, while comparatively small, is involved in fundraising and volunteerism in gender, health, environmental, and community projects. The government sometimes partners with NGOs and generally encourages philanthropy.

There are no alleged or reported human or labor rights concerns relating to responsible business conduct of which foreign businesses should be aware.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 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

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines remains susceptible to natural disasters and other effects due to climate change. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 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 Economic, Social and Development Plan seeks to address sustainable national development and is working toward integrated climate change adaptation. The National Adaptation Plan seeks to fulfill the government’s UN obligations and integrate all policies, programs and activities as it relates to climate change. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is party to the Paris Agreement. The National Climate Change Policy is a cross-sectoral strategy to strengthen resilience to climate change and its integration into the national development agenda for low carbon and sustainable growth.

The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implements these laws. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a signatory to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, but not to the UN Anti-Corruption Convention.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has the authority to prosecute several corruption-related offenses. Corruption allegations are investigated by the Royal Sain. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force. There is generally no statutory standard obligation for public officers to disclose financial information to a specific authority. If confiscation proceedings are initiated or contemplated against a corrupt official, the courts can order disclosure of financial information. The Financial Intelligence Unit has the authority to conduct financial investigations with a court order.

The law also provides for public access to information. Only a narrow list of exceptions outlining the grounds for nondisclosure exists, but there is no specific timeline for relevant authorities to make the requested response or disclosure. There are no criminal or administrative sanctions for not providing a response and there is no appeal mechanism for review of a disclosure denial.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at the government agency or agencies that are responsible for combating corruption:

Sejilla McDowall
Director of Public Prosecutions
Office of Public Prosecutions
Frenches Gate, Kingstown
Telephone: 784-457-1344

Colin John
Commissioner of Police
Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force
Telephone: 784-457-1211

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines does not have a recent history of politically motivated violence or civil disturbance. Elections are peaceful and regarded as being free and fair. The next general elections are constitutionally due in 2025.

According to the World Bank, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had an active labor force of approximately 52,095 persons in 2022 with an unemployment rate of 19%. The government generally enforces labor laws, and penalties are sufficient to deter violations. The law, including related regulations and statutory instruments, provides for the rights of workers to form and join unions of their choice, bargain collectively, and conduct legal strikes. The law also provides that it is lawful to conduct peaceful picketing in contemplation of a trade dispute. Trade unions and leaders of the trade union movement enjoy a strong voice in the labor and economic affairs of the country.

The law provides for the right of workers to form and join unions of their choice, bargain collectively, and conduct legal strikes. The law does not require employers to recognize a particular union as an exclusive bargaining agent. The law prohibits antiunion discrimination and dismissal for engaging in union activities. Although the law does not require reinstatement of workers fired for union activity, a court may order reinstatement.

One union accused the government of using a colonial-era public order law to limit its right to protest. Union leaders contended some public servants were arrested and suspended from work without charge until their matters were resolved in court. This resulted in persons experiencing hardship after their cases were dismissed, since their salaries and pensions were not restored by the government. Observers said this was intended to stifle protest.

The government recognizes the right to freedom of association, with restrictions. The International Labor Organization (ILO) noted with concern the discretionary authority of the government over trade union registration and the government’s unfettered authority to investigate the financial accounts of trade unions.

The government generally respected the right to collective bargaining in the private sector. Authorities formed arbitration panels, which included tripartite representation from government, businesses, and unions, on an ad hoc basis when labor disputes occurred.

Workers providing essential services – defined as the provision of electricity, water, hospital, and police services – are prohibited from striking unless they provide at least 14 days’ notice to authorities. Some of these sectors were not covered under the ILO’s description of essential services.

The Trade Disputes (Arbitration and Inquiry) Act Chapter 215 provides for establishment of an arbitration tribunal and a board of inquiry in connection with trade disputes and allows provision for the settlement of such disputes. Labor unions and businesses are generally satisfied with the arbitration panels, which have tripartite representation. One of the mandates of the Department of Labor is to serve as a dispute resolution mechanism.

The Wages Council Act establishes the Wages Council, which addresses minimum wages, hours of work, overtime, vacation, sick leave, and maternity leave for specified categories of workers. Employers who fail to pay minimum wages are subject to orders for the payment of the wages. The statutory minimum wages are set out in regulations under the Wages Council Act. Minimum wages varied by sector and type of work and were below the poverty line. The law prescribes hours of work for specific categories, such as industrial employees (40 hours per week), professionals (44 hours per week), and agricultural workers (30 to 40 hours per week). The law provides that workers receive time-and-a-half pay for hours worked above the standard workweek.

The Equal Pay Act makes provision for the removal and prevention of discrimination, based on the sex of the employee, in the rates or remuneration for males and females in paid employment. Teachers, police officers, public servants, the Medical Association, industrial workers, and some members of the private sector, especially in financial services, operate under collective bargaining agreements.

The Protection of Employment Act No. 20 of 2003 allows for severance. Article 27 (1) allows employees to ask that their services be deemed as severed after six weeks of being laid off from work. There is typically no unemployment insurance or other social security safety net programs for workers laid off for economic reasons.

The law provides for a minimum working age of 16. This provision is generally observed in practice. Compulsory primary and secondary education policies reinforce minimum age requirements. The Labor Department has a small cadre of labor inspectors who conduct spot investigations of enterprises and checked records to verify compliance with the labor laws. These inspectors may refer cases to the police and the public prosecutor’s office for legal action against an employer who employs underage workers.

The government did not always enforce labor laws effectively. Penalties were undefined and thus were not consistently commensurate with penalties for other violations involving denials of civil rights, such as discrimination.

Investors in the country are responsible for maintaining workers’ rights and safeguarding the natural environment. Workers have the right to report and/or leave unsafe work environments without risking their continued employment.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 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) 2022 $871.4 2021 $948.6 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2021 $7 BEA data available at 
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2021 $3 BEA data available at 
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2021 161.8% UNCTAD data available at   

* Source for Host Country Data: Eastern Caribbean Central Bank: 

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is not included in the survey. Data not available.

Political/Economic Section U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Telephone Number:  +1 246 –227 4000 Email Address:   

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
    1. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is also party to the following: 
      1. Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
      2. Organization of Eastern Caribbean States 
      3. Caribbean Basin Initiative
      4. CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement 
      5. CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement  
      6. Caribbean/Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN) 
  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: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
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