St Vincent & Grenadines

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ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING

FATF Status

St Vincent & the Grenadines is not on the FATF List of Countries that have been identified as having strategic AML deficiencies

Compliance with FATF Recommendations

The last Mutual Evaluation Report relating to the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards in St Vincent & the Grenadines was undertaken by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2012. According to that Evaluation, St Vincent & the Grenadines was deemed Compliant for 8 and Largely Compliant for 13 of the FATF 40 + 9 Recommendations. It was Partially Compliant or Non-Compliant for 4 of the 6 Core Recommendations.

US Department of State Money Laundering assessment (INCSR)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is categorised by the US State Department as a Country/Jurisdiction of Primary Concern in respect of Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

OVERVIEW

 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines made some progress on its AML regime.  The FIU has a good reputation in the Eastern Caribbean and cooperates regularly with the United States.  In December 2017, the country began a national risk assessment. 
 
St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ economy is dependent on tourism and its offshore financial services sector.  There are no FTZs or economic citizenship programs.  Gaming is legal, but there are no casinos in operation.  As of December 31, 2019, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Financial Intelligence Unit (SVGFIU) reported there are 4,284 IBCs, 70 international trusts, 153 LLCs, three international banks, six credit unions, five international insurance companies, 15 registered agents, 52 mutual funds, 24 domestic insurance companies, 27 pension plans, 16 insurance agents, and two MSBs.  IBCs can be incorporated in less than 24 hours from receipt of application.  The International Business Companies (Amendment and Consolidation) (Amendment) Act enacted December 27, 2018 removes direct tax exemptions and stops further bearer share issuance by IBCs incorporated in the country.  
 
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is the regulatory body with the mandate to supervise the offshore financial sector, and the SVGFIU is the supervisory authority for DNFBPs. 

 

SANCTIONS

There are no international sanctions currently in force against this country.

BRIBERY & CORRUPTION

Rating                                                                           (100-Good / 0-Bad)

Transparency International Corruption Index                           59

World Governance Indicator – Control of Corruption             79

ECONOMY

Success of the economy hinges upon seasonal variations in agriculture, tourism, and construction activity as well as remittances. Much of the workforce is employed in banana production and tourism, but persistent high unemployment has prompted many to leave the islands. Saint Vincent is home to a small offshore banking sector and has moved to adopt international regulatory standards.

 

This lower-middle-income country is vulnerable to natural disasters - tropical storms wiped out substantial portions of crops in 1994, 1995, and 2002. Floods and mudslides caused by unseasonable rainfall in 2013, caused substantial damage to infrastructure, homes, and crops, which the World Bank estimated at US$112 million. The government's ability to invest in social programs and respond to external shocks is constrained by its high public debt burden, which was 67% of GDP - one of the lowest levels in the Eastern Caribbean - at the end of 2013.

 

In 2013, the islands had more than 200,000 tourist arrivals, mostly to the Grenadines. Arrivals represented a marginal increase from 2012 but remain 26% below St. Vincent's 2009 peak. Weak recovery in the tourism and construction sectors limited growth in 2015.

 

Agriculture - products:

bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, spices; small numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats; fish

 

Industries:

tourism; food processing, cement, furniture, clothing, starch

 

Exports - commodities:

bananas, eddoes and dasheen (taro), arrowroot starch; tennis racquets

 

Exports - partners:

Trinidad and Tobago 18.9%, St. Lucia 14.8%, Barbados 12.3%, Dominica 9.7%, Grenada 9.3%, Antigua and Barbuda 8.4%, Poland 7.1%, St. Kitts and Nevis 4.1% (2015)

 

Imports - commodities:

foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, minerals and fuels

 

Imports - partners:

Trinidad and Tobago 29.3%, US 17.2%, Singapore 8.7%, China 8%, Barbados 6%, Poland 5.5%, Turkey 4.4% (2015)

 

Investment Climate  -  US State Department

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines remains an emerging market in the Eastern Caribbean with an estimated Gross Domestic Product of USD $635.9million. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). According to the ECCB, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ economy is projected to grow by 2.11% in 2016. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is continuing its economic diversification program through investment in niche markets, particularly tourism, international financial services, agro-processing, light manufacturing, alternative (renewable) energy, creative industries and information and communication technology (ICT). The government continues to place high hopes on the long-awaited opening of the international airport to boost tourism arrivals in Saint Vincent, but business owners express skepticism about its ability to provide immediate dividends. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is currently ranked at 111th in the World Bank’s Doing Business report for 2016.

 

The government treats foreign investors and local investors equally with respect to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, and sale or other disposition of investment in its territory. While slow, the police and court systems are efficient and unbiased in commercial matters. The government operates in a generally transparent manner, but business dealings can be influenced at times by personal relationships.

Companies registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have the right to repatriate all capital, royalties, dividends and profits free of all taxes or any other charges on foreign exchange transactions.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines bases its legal system on the British common law system. The Constitution guarantees constitutional independence of the judiciary. The United States and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are both parties to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO Dispute Settlement Panel and Appellate Body resolve disputes over WTO agreements, while courts of appropriate jurisdiction in both countries resolve private disputes.

Under the constitution, nationals and non-nationals may establish and own private enterprises and private property in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. These rights also pertain to the acquisition and disposition of interests in private enterprises.

 

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines uses transparent policies and effective laws to foster competition and establish clear rules for foreign and domestic investors in the areas of tax, labor, environment, health, and safety.

 

Country Links
Financial Intelligence Unit St. Vincent and the Grenadines (FIU-SVG)​
Eastern Caribbean Central Bank
Other Useful Links
FATF
US State Department
Transparency International
World Bank
CIA World Factbook

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