KNOWLEDGE BASE

KEY CORPORATE FEATURES

GENERAL INFORMATION

Geographically, Dominica is distinctive in many ways. The country has one of the most rugged landscapes in the Caribbean, covered by a largely unexploited, multi-layered rain forest. It is also among the earth's most rain-drenched lands, and the water runoff forms cascading rivers and natural pools. The island is home to rare species of wildlife and is considered by many as a beautiful, unspoiled tropical preserve. According to a popular West Indian belief, Dominica is the only New World territory that Columbus would still recognize.

Dominica is the largest and most northerly of the Windward Islands. The island faces the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the west.

Oblong-shaped and slightly smaller than New York City, Dominica is 750 square kilometers in area, 47 kilometers in length, and 29 kilometers in width. Roseau, the nation's capital and major port, is favorably situated on the sheltered, southwestern coast.

Population

The population of Dominica is approximately 72,000. Descendants of African slaves comprised the overwhelming majority of the population. Aside from Caribs, an estimated 3% of the population, there were no other significant ethnic clusters. The ethnic, racial, and cultural composition of the society in the 1980s reflected Carib, French, British, and African influences.

Political Structure

Dominica is a republic with a non-executive presidency and has been a parliamentary democracy since November 1978. It has a unicameral House of Assembly with 30 members, 21 directly elected and 9 senators appointed by the president, 5 on the advice of the prime minister, 4 on the advice of the leader of the opposition. Elections are held at least every five years, with universal suffrage for adults. The president is nominated by the prime minister and leader of the opposition and elected by the House of Assembly for not more than two terms of five years. He or she appoints the prime minister who consults the president in appointing other ministers. The president may dismiss the prime minister in the event of a no-confidence vote in the House of Assembly. Individual rights are guaranteed under the constitution.

Infrastructure and Economy

Dominica ’s economy is vulnerable with less than 25 per cent of the country being under cultivation. Its location exposes it to tropical storms and hurricanes, which have caused severe damage to the crops making up the country's economic base. The country is also vulnerable in its dependence on banana exports to the EU.

Since the 1980s, successive governments have therefore introduced measures to diversify the economy, encouraging a shift from traditional crops (such as sugar, coffee and cocoa) to new crops (such as citrus, melons, pineapples and mangoes), and developing export-oriented small industries (notably garments and electronics assembly), taking advantage of such preferences as the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), which allows access to the US market. They have also encouraged development of tourism and especially eco-tourism.

The government also encouraged the development of an offshore financial-services sector, including company and bank registration and internet gambling.

Main imports are food and consumer goods, fuels, transport equipment, machinery and chemicals. Main trading partners for exports are Japan, the UK, Jamaica and the US, and for imports, Japan, the US, China, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Language

The official and spoken language is English.

Currency

Eastern Carribean dollar.

Exchange Control

There are no Foreign Exchange controls, and the US dollar circulates freely throughout the economy.

Type of Law

Dominica's legal system is based upon English Common Law, with local modifications.

Principal Corporate Legislation

International Business Companies Act 1996.

Companies Act 1994.

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DOMINICA COMPANY INFORMATION

Type of company for international Trade and Investment

International Business Company (IBC).

Procedure to Incorporate

By submission of the Company's Memorandum and Articles of Association to the Registrar of Companies.

Restrictions on Trading

An IBC is restricted from conducting business with persons or companies resident in Dominica, conducting banking or trust business, conducting insurance or reinsurance business, or conducting the business of providing company management services. In Dominica, an IBC may maintain bank accounts, retain professional advisors carrying on business within Dominica, maintain corporate records, hold meetings and lease office space.

Powers of Company

An International Business Company has the full capacity of, and all rights, powers, and privileges of, a natural person.

Language of Legislation and Corporate Documents

The legislation and corporate documentation are in English.

Registered Office Required

Yes, must be maintained in Dominica at the address of a licensed management company or law firm.

Time to Incorporate

Normally two days subject to name approval.

Name Restrictions

Any name that has already been incorporated, or a name that is so similar as to cause confusion. Restricted names are ones that suggest the patronage of the Royal Family, the Government, a political party, a university, a professional association, or names that the Registrar may consider misleading or objectionable.

Language of Name

Any language or alphabet, but if not in English a translation is required.

Names Requiring Consent or Licence

Any name implying a relationship with the banking or insurance or company management industries- e.g bank, financial, trust and insurance.

Suffixes to Denote Limited Liability

The name of an IBC must end with a word, phrase or abbreviation which indicates Limited Liability. Examples are Ltd, Corp, Inc, SA, NV or GmbH.

Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership to Authorities

No.

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DOMINICA COMPLIANCE

Authorised and Issued Share Capital

The usual authorised share capital is US$100,000 divided in to 100,000 shares of US$1. The share capital can be expressed in any currency. The minimum issued capital is one share.

Classes of Shares Permitted

Par value shares and shares with no par value or registered shares.

Taxation

The law provides a minimum twenty (20) years Tax Exemption for offshore companies beginning from the day of incorporation.

Double Taxation Agreements

Dominica is not party to any double tax treaties.

Licence Fee

Government annual fees are US$405 payable on the anniversary of incorporation.

Financial Statements Required

There is no requirement to file accounts with the authorities, but a company is required to keep financial records that reflect the financial position of the company.

Directors

The minimum number of directors is one. The directors may be natural persons or corporate bodies. They may be of any nationality and need not be resident in Dominica.

Company Secretary

Not required, but normally appointed.

Shareholders

The minimum number of shareholders is one.

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HOW TO PROCEED

A bespoke 'offshore' solution can be complex and requires careful planning and execution. We therefore encourage our clients to contact us directly, without obligation, for a Free Initial Consultation.

Our experienced consultants will gladly assist with advice on how to approach your particular challenge.

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