Curaçao aims at e-commerce companies and call centers

Curaçao wants to profile itself as a business location for e-commerce companies. Two free trade zones, where only 2 percent profit tax has to be paid, have now also been made accessible to e-commerce companies by the Antillean government. According to Curinde NV, which manages the free zones, there is interest now.

Curaçao wants to profile itself as a business location for e-commerce companies. Two free trade zones, where only 2 percent profit tax has to be paid, have now also been made accessible to e-commerce companies by the Antillean government. According to Curinde NV, which manages the free zones, there is interest now. In addition to the favorable tax climate, there is also a lure for companies in the form of a fast fiber optic connection.

The free zones on Curaçao, one of which is located next to the Hato airport, have existed for some time, but were only accessible to companies that would actually store their goods there. That was not very attractive for e-commerce companies, which is why the Antillean government has adjusted the legislation to make the free zones attractive for these companies.

Companies pay only 2 percent profit tax in both areas renamed to 'e-zones'. Out of that, 34.5 percent. They are also exempt from, among other things, turnover and land tax. The condition is that the companies conduct international trade. For comparison, in the Netherlands there is a fixed percentage of 35 percent profit tax (30 percent over the first 50 thousand guilders).

At the same time as the change for the e-zones, the Antillean Government developed a new law for e-commerce, which is active on 1 January. In the Netherlands Antilles, according to the law, the digital signature is already legally valid, which should give a great boost to doing business via the internet. In the Netherlands such a law for the digital signature still has to be adopted. A European directive has already been issued stating that the digital signature must be valid in the various member states.

Curaçao also tries to pull companies over the line with the fast connection via the fiber optic cable Arcos-1. At the beginning of this month, this connection that connects the island with the rest of South and North America has been established. Arcos-1 is good for a speed of 960 gigabytes per second.

In the recent plans of the Antilles, the comparison with Ireland, for example, arises, certainly if the Antillean government presents the measures as a means to attract call centers to Curaçao. In addition to the favorable tax rate, the call centers could benefit from the fact that three languages ​​are common, in addition to Dutch, English and Spanish.

The company that manages the free zones, now called 'e-zones', is Curinde NV. Head of the Investment Promotion department is Edgar Yzer. He says that "thirty contacts have already been established" since e-commerce has been promoted in combination with Curaçao. But this is not just about e-commerce companies. The e-zones have become a lot more interesting for other companies since the arrival of the Arcos-1 cable, says Yzer. There are no concrete commitments yet.

Yzer says that the needs of call centers are currently being investigated in the Netherlands. "But the area is not only interesting for European call centers and e-commerce companies, we also focus on American companies." Curaçao has a favorable tax regulation for these companies. Such free trade areas do not exist in the other Antilles, Yzer explains. "We do experience some competition from Barbados, but that is why we profile ourselves not only with the low profit tax, but also with the presence of an airport, a port and e-commerce legislation."