Bahamas: Country and Foreign Investment
Foreign Investment Regime
As mentioned above, the foreign investment regime in the Bahamas is complex, largely because of the variety of types of support and incentive that are offered, coupled with legislation protective of Bahamian interests and employment, and exchange controls. Only brief details of some of the salient points will be given here.
The following statutes, among others, incorporate significant incentive structures:
- The Industries Encouragement Act
- The Tariff Act
- The Hotels Encouragement Act
- The Agricultural Manufactories Act
- The Export Manufacturing Industries Encouraging Act
- The Bahamas Free Trade Zone Act
- The Hawksbill Creek Agreement
Freeport on Grand Bahama is a 200-sq-mile free trade zone, incorporating Freeport Harbour, a newly-built container trans-shipment port able to take the largest vessels. Freeport is a tax- and duty-free zone. There is a further, smaller free port on New Providence Island.
The Bahamas have a National Investment Policy vested in the National Economic Council; it is operated by the Bahamas Investment Authority, which is the first port-of-call for any intending inward investor.
Among the incentives that are available are exemption from customs duties, exemption from property taxes, subsidised land and buildings, support for training and retraining, freedom from licensing and permit rules. The Bahamas belong to a number of international preferential trade groupings which may assist in reducing tariffs on exports from the Bahamas to certain other markets:
- The Lome Convention
- The Generalised System of Preferences
- The Caribbean Basin Initiative