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STATEMENT BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
DR. THE HONOURABLE NATALIO WHEATLEY
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
THIRD SITTING OF THE FIFTH SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
10TH FRIDAY FEBRUARY 2023
BVI COMMITTED TO COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
Madam Speaker, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has demonstrated its continued commitment to complying with evolving international standards on transparency and the fight against financial crime, with a set of new legislative changes that came into force on 1st January 2023.
These legislative updates, including amendments to the BVI Business Companies (Amendment) Act 2022, and BVI Business (Amendment) Regulations 2022, meet requirements set out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes as part of its Peer Review Process.
The OECD Peer Review assesses compliance with the international standard on transparency and exchange of information on request (EOIR) in addition to assessment of a jurisdiction’s legal and regulatory framework.
The OECD Peer Review on the BVI was launched in in December 2021 and covered a historic review spanning as far back as 2016 and ending in 2020 during the heart of the Covid-19 pandemic. Having maintained a “largely compliant” rating since 2015, the BVI was moved to a “partially compliant” rating in November 2022 as the historic analysis focused on the review period and could not take into consideration important legislative developments in 2022 that would ensure the effective and efficient exchange of information.
Madam Speaker, the BVI has therefore requested that a supplementary review be granted by the OECD Global Forum that will more accurately reflect the BVI’s status. Following a supplementary review, the BVI is hopeful, that it has complied with the requirements that would get approval for a “largely compliant” rating to be reinstated.
The OECD Peer Review rating is one of the criteria that determines the “EU List of Non-cooperative Jurisdictions for Tax Purposes” (EU List). The BVI is currently included on the EU’s state of play document known as “Annex II”, which includes jurisdictions that have committed to implementing reforms. Its purpose is to recognise ongoing constructive work in the field of taxation, and to encourage the positive approach taken by cooperative jurisdictions to implement tax good governance principles.
The BVI has a long track record of adhering to international standards as set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), EU and other recognised global standard-setting bodies.
Therefore, Madam Speaker, we are hopeful that the legislative amendments that are now in force will mean the BVI is granted a supplementary review by the OECD Global Forum and will soon be reinstated to a ‘largely compliant rating’.
In closing Madam Speaker, the BVI will remain a world-class international financial center committed to high international standards on transparency and regulation offering a premier business-friendly jurisdiction for international investment and trade and capital flows. I thank you, Madam Speaker.