Minister signs financing agreement for a St. Maarten E-Zone

POSTED: 03/13/11 8:48 PM

St. Maarten – Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication Franklin Meyers signed a financing agreement with USONA Friday that will allow for the island to develop an E-Zone. The 18 month project will cost 270, 000 guilders and is part of a broader strategy to diversify the island’s economy.
Companies in the E-zone will benefit from special fiscal incentives including a concessionary profit tax rate – 2 percent. This is significantly lower than the regular profit tax rate outside of the e-zones (40%). There are also no import duties or turnover tax due for services that are rendered within the E-Zone.

The Minister is hoping that implementing this project will allow for increased investment. Things are “mostly ready” for the start of the project as the relevant legislation was taken over from the Netherlands Antilles. All that is needed now is for the relevant national decrees to be approved. Once that is done between late March and April companies will be able to begin registering. The task of granting the licenses will be mandated to the Ministry itself.
An E-Zone is a sort of free trade area that allows multinational companies to move products through a port. None of what is sold from the E-Zone can be distributed to the local market. The government will conduct controls to ensure that.

The Minister was not able to state how much revenue the new industry will bring to the island or how many jobs it would create.
“The amounts we take in and the amount of jobs will depend on how many companies we get to register. In this instance we really have to market it and let the world know this is available and we expect that once they know, especially about our geographic location that this will have a positive impact. The important thing is that it is marketed well,” Meyers said.
The St. Maarten government based its decision to start the E-Zone on data it had obtained from how the concept has been implemented on Curacao.

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