Cook Islands Business, Taxation and Offshore Information
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in a loose constitutional association with New Zealand. The head of state is the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, represented by the Queen’s Representative. There is a prime minister and a cabinet appointed from elected members of parliament. The people, ethnically similar to New Zealand’s Maoris, occupy widely scattered islands in the Southwest Pacific. The time zone is 10 hours behind GMT. The capital, Avarua, on Raratonga Island, has direct flights to New Zealand, California, Hawaii, etc. The climate is tropical and there are typhoons in summer.
The economy is import-dependent, and loose fiscal policies led to 'bankruptcy' in 1996. Government cutbacks and help from New Zealand have aided the recovery. Exports include copra, pearls and fruit. The tourist industry is vital, and the offshore sector is the second biggest source of government revenue. The working currency is the New Zealand dollar and there are no exchange controls. Unemployment and inflation are low. There are significant investment incentives available to foreign-owned businesses. The legal system is based on English common law. More »