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An entrepreneur’s guide to doing business in the Bahamas

Updated time: 12 Oct, 2021, 11:19 (UTC+08:00)

Learning about the country and its economic status you are about to do business in is very important and necessary. In this article, we will bring you a guide to doing business in the Bahamas so you can have the most comprehensive overview before making your decision.

Bahamas’ prime location

The Bahamas is an English-speaking country located in the Atlantic Ocean to the east of the United States, north of Cuba and the Caribbean, and west of British dependencies, the Turks and Caicos Islands. Bahamas, with more than 700 large and small islands with an area of ​​​roughly 100,000 square miles, is often known as "paradise on earth". The country is famous for its captivating scenery, charming, wild and extremely romantic beauty of nature. There are a larger number of US companies doing business in the Bahamas because it has the same standard time zone as New York and is only an hour away by plane from Miami. With such an extremely convenient distance, this island nation lures thousands of Americans to come and do business in the Bahamas every year.

Bahamas is well-known for its beautiful beaches and captivating scenery

Bahamas is well-known for its beautiful beaches and captivating scenery

The Bahamas has a long history of being an ideal destination for wealthy individuals to settle down, and for international businesses to set up companies. In addition to the advantage of the country's sovereignty, more and more corporations and investors come here to build exclusive luxury resorts, marinas and golf courses. This has contributed to making the Bahamas an investment paradise for service businesses. At the same time, with its location near the United States, English is a common language, many entrepreneurs around the world have considered this place as a gateway to enter the world's largest and most difficult market - the United States.

Economy overview and US companies doing business in the Bahamas

The development of the tourism industry

The Bahamas is a high-income developed country with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than $11.2 million and a GDP per capita of more than $28,000. Of which, more than 85% of major international trade deals are with the United States since there are thousands of US companies doing business in the Bahamas. Tourism is the industry that accounts for the largest share of GDP here and economic growth is mainly driven by the service industry. Although natural resources are not diversified and there are not many industries, the Bahamian economy can still thrive thanks to tourism and offshore financial services. These sectors have traditionally attracted a lot of foreign direct investment (FDI) with the top 3 countries with the largest amount of FDI in the Bahamas being the US, Canada and China. If you and your business want to expand into the luxury tourism sector or want to start a business in the service industry, doing business in the Bahamas is a great option. Despite contributing to more than 50% of the country's GDP, the tourism industry employs just over half of the country's workforce. Every year, this place welcomes more than 7 million tourists, mainly from the US which makes doing business in the Bahamas the shortest way to enter the US market.

Bahamas welcomes more than 7 million tourists each year

Bahamas welcomes more than 7 million tourists each year

The ecology and infrastructure in the Bahamas has been able to attract and sustain significant tourism development. This is the premise for businesses that want to expand in service and foreign tourism sectors. The country is not only famous for its luxury resort and Atlantis Aquarium on Paradise Island, but also for the $2.6 billion Baha Mar Cable Beach Redevelopment Project, with the participation of the largest hotel brands in the world such as Morgans, Rosewood and Hyatt.

Diverse financial services

The Bahamas is one of the world's leading offshore financial centers. This sector of the Bahamas economy is sustained by the strong public/private regional partnerships. Above all, to meet the constantly changing needs of investors, the government continues to provide companies doing business in the Bahamas innovative tools and a wide range of financial services with high security. Popular financial services in the country are wealth management services, investment funds, private banking, and wealth planning. Some of the major banks here are Citibank N.A., FirstCaribbean International Bank Ltd., The Finance Corporation of Bahamas, RBC Royal Bank Limited, and Scotiabank Limited. Since the Bahamas is an ideal country for offshore companies, diversified and secure financial services are indispensable.

Abundant FDI inflows

The Bahamas maintains an open investment climate and actively promotes a liberal tax environment from many types of taxes, including capital gains, inheritance, and corporate or personal income taxes. The Bahamas does not offer export subsidies or engage in trade-distorting practices. The country continues to attract FDI from various parts of the world and has recently benefited from significant investments in the tourism sector from international companies based in China. Investments from US companies doing business in the Bahamas are also primarily in the tourism sector and range from general services to billion-dollar resort developments and million-dollar homes on the major islands of the archipelago.

Bahamas continues to attract FDI from all around the world

Bahamas continues to attract FDI from all around the world

Foreign businesses incentives

One of the goals of the Government of the Bahamas is to encourage and facilitate entrepreneurship. In order to encourage entrepreneurs doing business in the Bahamas as well as promote foreign investment capital - the most important source of capital in the Bahamas, the country offers them a 0% corporate tax rate. Such incentives include the access to government-owned land, customs duty (or border tax) concessions on approved raw materials, equipment and construction supplies as well as being exempt from property tax for a specified period. At the same time, this country has an Act on the Protection of Privacy of Individuals related to Personal Data in the management, storage and use of information related to personal data. Furthermore, companies do not need to submit annual profit reports or audit reports to the government. It also does not have any restrictions on current account transactions, nor does it have any restrictions on the withdrawal of profits for businesses in the Bahamas.

Along with extremely beneficial policies for businesses mentioned above, the Bahamas also has business support programs such as the Bahamas Agriculture and Industry Corporation (BAIC). BAIC's mission is to stimulate and encourage the creation, expansion and promotion of SMEs, and to assist them in their development and enhancement of opportunities that benefit Domestic and International Trade.

Through the above article, the information about doing business in the Bahamas that we provide will help you in analyzing this country’s economic system. With a comprehensive view of the economic situation of the Bahamas, we hope you will consider and prepare carefully before deciding to invest and register a company in Bahamas.

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