Cook Islands: Country and Foreign Investment
Investments by Foreigners
The Development Investment Act of 1977, administered by the Cook Islands Monetary Board, has traditionally been regarded as the basis for all incentives and concessions. Under the Act, any foreign enterprise (i.e, one with less than 66% local shareholding) must apply to the Monetary Board (in effect the Cook Islands Cabinet) to establish a new business. An Investment Code issued in 2003 (see above) listed the areas in which investment is restricted as well as those in which it is encouraged.
Foreign inward investment is generally encouraged. Incentives and concessions are available where the Government believes the investment will contribute significantly to the development of the Cook Islands and include such measures as:
- the imposition of tariffs on competing imports;
- tax relief by way of an accelerated depreciation allowance on capital goods;
- exemptions from customs duty and import levy;
- permission to lease land;
- work permits;
- tax concessions;
- training incentives, including allowances for the training and recruitment of Cook Islanders who are living abroad.
In addition to these incentives, the Government heavily encourages joint ventures with the indigenous population, and the Development Investment Code identifies desired investment sectors where the Government has deemed that development by potential overseas investors is desirable for the economic development of the Cook Islands. These areas do not necessarily attract incentives, however they are encouraged and welcomed by the Government.