Barbados Current Affairs - 2019

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First India-Caribbean Summit – 2019

Prime Minister Modi met the leaders of the Caribbean Community on 25th September, 2019, in New York. The meeting focused on fighting climate change and increasing India’s participation in the grouping

At the meeting, PM Modi announced 14 million USD grant for community development projects in the region. He also extended 150 million USD of line of credit for renewable energy, solar and climate change related projects.

Leaders and representatives of the Caribbean countries Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Tobago and Trinidad attended the meeting. Modi also invited the countries to join ISA (International Solar Alliance) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient infrastructure.

Why did India initiate the summit?

Carricom economies are highly dependent on trade. They are Single Market Economies. It means the economies allow free movement of goods, labor and services within the community. Hence, the return on investment is faster. Caribbean is home to more than 1 million Indian diasporas. The countries are rich in oil and petroleum.

Carricom Grouping

Carricom is Carribean Community whose establishment was a 15-year struggle. It was inspired by the emerging European community. After multilateral trade agreements like Central American Common Market, 1960 and Latin American Free Trade Agreement, 1960 and Andean Pact, 1969, Carricom was established in 1973. The Carricom Grouping has 15 member states and 5 associate members. They came together to form an economic and political community.

15 members of the grouping include Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Haiti, Montserrat, Jamaica, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, St Lucia, Tobago and Trinidad. The associated members include Bermuda, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Cayman Islands.

India – Carricom relations

The first meeting of India – Carricom Foreign ministers was held in 2005. Since then, the trade between India and Carricom began to grow. India exports 16 million USD worth goods to the Carricom countries according EXIM report 2010. It includes transport equipment, machinery, iron and steel, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, metals, etc. The imports from the countries include 1.5 million USD worth goods. They are mostly metal scraps and wood products. Though the countries are rich in oil, India is currently not importing oil from Carricom countries.

The first India-Caribbean Conclave was held in 2009. In the conclave the potential areas of investment in the countries like small scale industries, water pumps for irrigation, medicine, etc were identified.

EU Adds 10 Countries to Tax Blacklist

The European Union has expanded its tax haven blacklist by including 10 countries. The list now has 15 countries. The list was first drawn up by EU in 2017 in the wake of several scandals, including the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks, that pushed the EU into doing more to fight tax evasion by multinationals and the rich.

Expansion of the List

  • Seven countries Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Oman, Vanuatu and Dominica were moved from greylist to blacklist due to their inability towards reform commitments.
  • Three other countries added into the list are Barbados, the United Arab Emirates and the Marshall Islands.

EU list of Tax Blacklist or Tax Havens

Tax Havens provide taxpayers with opportunities for tax avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serve to hide the origin of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. Features of these Tax Havens include low or zero taxation, fictitious residences (with no bearing on reality) and tax secrecy.

EU initiated the naming and shaming tactics through Tax blacklist or Tax havens as a tool for securing a level playing field and as an external strategy for effective taxation by assessing, screening and listing third-country tax jurisdictions which are non-cooperative in tax matters.