BVI got more foreign investment in 2013 than Brazil and India combined – UN

   0   0 Blog, Tax Havens & Financial Crisis, Taxing corporations

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are back in the news.  Last week the islands featured at the centSONY DSCre of a huge story about corruption in China.  This week’s story concerns UNCTAD’s latest estimates of foreign direct investment flows through companies registered in the BVI.  As Reuters reports:

The Caribbean archipelago, a tax haven otherwise dependent on tourism, has jumped up the league table of top investment destinations in the past five years. It welcomed $92 billion (55 billion pounds) of foreign cash in 2013, according to preliminary figures compiled by the U.N. trade and economy thinktank UNCTAD.  That was the fourth biggest haul of investment globally.

The world’s biggest economy, United States, attracted $159 billion (95 billion pounds).  China, the world’s second biggest economy, got $127 billion (76 billion pounds), while major oil and metals producer Russia took in just $2 billion (1 billion pounds) more than the British Virgin Islands.  Brazil and India were further down the ranking, with $63 billion (38 billion pounds) and $28 billion (16 billion pounds) respectively.

Given that the total population of the BVI is a mere 31,912 that FDI flow in 2013 represents investment of $2.9 million per person; in ONE year!  Something’s going on here.  As Reuters notes:

For most countries, foreign direct investment mainly consists of companies spending on crossborder corporate acquisitions and new overseas projects.  But for the British Virgin Islands, most of the money is transferred quickly in and out of the country or cash moved through the treasury accounts of large firms, which UNCTAD terms “transnational corporations” or TNCs.

And we all know why transnational companies like to book transactions through offshore tax havens; as UNCTAD director James Zhan comments:

In the British Virgin Islands there are some financial companies that perform the role of treasuries of the TNCs, as a kind of profit unit or profit centre.  “The TNCs’ revenues basically flow from their foreign affiliates in countries with higher tax rates to there.

Read the full Reuters report here.


Related Posts

UN must defend target to curtail multinational companies’ tax abuse

Photo by Luca Santori, Creative Commons LicenseThe Tax Justice Network, The Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, and the Global Alliance for Tax Justice call on the UN Secretary General to make sure the commitment to action on tax abuses by multinational companies remains part of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals.


The BVI: Responsible for worldwide tax losses of $37.5 billion a year

BVI report blogAn extraordinary report by consultants Capital Economics, for BVI Finance, claims that the British Virgin Islands are responsible for $1.5 trillion of assets invested around the world, and that these result in 2.2 million jobs and $15 billion in tax revenue. A better approximation would be that the BVI imposes global tax losses of $37.5 […]


Event: Making Tax Work for Women in the UK and Globally

Invitation_ Tax and Gender eventOn Wednesday 28th June 2017 at 16.30 our very own Liz Nelson will be speaking at an event in London that aims to bring together gender and tax justice advocates to highlight the need for coherent and gender-responsive fiscal policies to safeguard the rights of women and girls both in the UK and globally. The […]


Historic event on women, human rights and tax justice in Bogota

BogotaLast week civil society organisations, researchers, labour union activists and policy makers met in Bogota, Colombia to explore how tax justice issues can ensure governments, multinational corporations and others meet their obligations to women in order to secure their full range of human rights. The Women’s Rights and Tax Justice conference opened with a conversation […]


The Offshore Wrapper: the Panama Papers, one year on

Photos from the Protest outside PwC 1 Embankment Place, part of the Global week of action for tax justiceWelcome to the Offshore Wrapper – your weekly update from TJN.  Happy Paniversary! This week it’s been one year since the Panama Papers were leaked, and a number of organisations around the world have been marking the occasion though the global week of action for tax justice. In London, activists from the TJN and the […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top