Aruba: Offshore Business Sectors
Trade, Marketing and Distribution
This page was last updated on 22 Feb 2019.
Aruba has encouraged commercial activity and manufacturing, especially in high technology, taking advantage of its membership of the EU and privileged access to the US market, by creating the Free Trade Zone and the Aruban exempt corporation form.
Hence a number of companies involved in the trade or distribution of fast-moving consumer goods and other physical goods use Aruba as a trading base for the American and European markets. Obviously the island is better located geographically for American markets, but even for Europe it is possible to base marketing, administrative and holding activities on Aruba, and US-sourced goods that undergo 'substantial transformation' in the Free Trade Zone can acquire EU origin. Licensing activities can also be carried out effectively from Aruba.
Aruba is a major distribution and transferral centre for the region. In 1986 the European Commission agreed to allow products originating in any ‘generalised system of preferences’ country to be transferred through Aruba without losing their originating status, provided the goods do not undergo any transformation other than packaging and affixing of labels etc. The consequence and intention behind this waiver is that Aruba could develop as a major transferral and distribution centre since its strategic location along international shipping routes already gives it a distinct advantage.
Apart from low taxation and exemption from customs duties, companies in the Free Trade Zone have access to certain types of EU grant or assistance. For a company importing or trading in physical goods in the EU, an Aruban exempt corporation can be combined with a base in the Free Trade Zone to give a very effective result.
Along with other offshore jurisdictions, Aruba is a suitable place in which to base e-commerce services for retail or wholesale distribution of material or non-material goods. See Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes for further details of taxation and fees payable by trading companies.