Get your Trade License

All foreign individuals and companies wishing to do business in Saint Lucia must first obtain a trade license. The license is approved by the minister with responsibility for commerce and trade based on the recommendation from the Trade License Advisory Board. The validity of a trade license, no matter when issued during the calendar year ends on 31 December of the year in which it was issued. Trade licenses must therefore be renewed from the first working day of January of the following year. 

Applications for a new or renewal of a trade license can be done by an individual but preferably by an attorney-at-law in Saint Lucia.

Find out more...

Relevant documents Trade Licence Act
Relevant institutions Department of Commerce

For companies or individuals applying for the first time

Companies applying for a trade license for the first time should submit the following with their application:

  1. Letter of reference from applicant’s Bank(s)
  2. Certificate of Character of major shareholders (Local and Overseas)
  3. Concept note of business activities (1-2 pages)
  4. Bio page of passport of shareholders and/or directors

Find out more...

Relevant documents Trade Licence Application (New Companies)

For companies or individuals applying for renewal

Companies applying to renew their trade license should submit the following with their application:

  1. Certificate of Good Standing for the company from the Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property.
  2. Compliance letters from National Insurance Corporation, Inland Revenue Department and Department of Labour (Work Permit)
  3. Evidence of compliance with any other sector specific licenses or local legislation. 

Find out more...

Relevant documents Trade Licence Application (Renewal)

Register your Business

There are essentially three types of entities that can be registered in Saint Lucia:

  • Corporate entities conducting business in Saint Lucia. These include local companies in which more than 50 percent of shares must be held by Saint Lucian or CARICOM nationals and external companies for which more than 50 percent of shares are held by non-CARICOM nationals. The full definition of local and external companies is contained in the Aliens Licensing Act.
  • Unincorporated business entities including sole proprietorships and partnerships. These must be registered under the Registration of Business Names Registrations Act.
  • Entities conducting offshore banking, trust, insurance, betting or gaming activities and corporate management and trust services (international business corporations). These must be registered under the International Business Companies Act. Offshore is defined as outside the CARICOM region.

Registration or incorporation must be carried out at the Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property (ROCIP). In all cases, the first step is a name search, which takes 48 hours, following which, if the name is available, an Approval of name search is delivered. This is valid for 28 days, or 90 days upon additional payment.

The approval, along with other necessary documents must then be submitted (see box below), upon which, within 48 hours, the certificate of incorporation or registration is delivered.

The incorporation and registration of a company must be done through an attorney-at-law registered and operating in Saint Lucia. There are official forms to be completed during the process.


Documents to submit for incorporation or registration

An attorney prepares the documents for incorporation, which include:
  • The articles of incorporation.
  • The notice of directors.
  • The notice of the company’s registered office.

Additional requirements to complete incorporation or registration

Register with the Commercial Registry

• When registering the company with the commercial registry, the attorney pays an administrative fee when presenting the documents for registration.

• The registry issues a certificate of incorporation and the registration process is finalized.

Obtain a Taxpayer Identification Number

• Obtain and complete a registration form with the Inland Revenue Department

• The completed registration form is signed by a director and the company secretary. It must accompany the certificate of incorporation with a list of employees, their National Insurance numbers and dates of employment with the company.

Register as an employer with a social security institute

• The competent authority is the National Insurance Corporation (NIC).

Find out more...

Relevant institutions National Insurance Corporation Inland Revenue Department

Investment Concessions

The Government of Saint Lucia provides a range of investment incentives to investors through various institutions. The institutions and incentives are outlined below.

Invest Saint Lucia

Invest Saint Lucia was established by an Act of Parliament, No.14 of 2014. The core functions of Invest Saint Lucia are:

  • to build and promote Saint Lucia’s image as a preferred location for investors;
  • to actively seek out and generate new investments in strategic sectors with high value-added and employment generating potential;
  • to facilitate domestic and foreign direct investment; and
  • to identify major issues and measures in support of the government's national investment policy. 

Find out more...

Relevant documents Invest Saint Lucia Act
Relevant institutions Invest Saint Lucia

Department of Commerce

Under the Fiscal Incentives Act, approved companies/enterprises may benefit from the following:

For incorporated enterprises:

  • Up to 100% exemption from the payment of income tax for a maximum period of 15 years
  • On the expiration of the tax holiday period, the net losses incurred during that period, may be carried forward for the purpose of set-off in computing the profits of an approved enterprise for the 5 year period following the tax holiday period.
  • In the case of a Group Enterprise, on the expiration of the tax holiday period, complete or partial exemption from income tax may be granted to an approved enterprise if the approved enterprise makes an investment as follows:

  • New investment from EC$1 million up to EC$5 million ~ 50% corporate tax exemption

  • New investment in excess of EC$5 million ~ 75% corporate tax exemption

  • Up to 100% exemption from the payment of import duty on plant, equipment, machinery, spare parts, raw materials or components thereof for a maximum of 15 years for new enterprises or for existing enterprises engaged in altering, reconstructing or extending the approved enterprise.
  • Up to 100% exemption from customs duty and excise tax on the import of plant, equipment, machinery, spare parts, raw materials or components for an approved service under Professional Services, Creative Industries, Information & Communications Technology Services and/or Spa and Wellness Services.

For non-incorporated enterprises:

  • Up to 100% exemption from the payment of import duty on plant, equipment, machinery, spare parts, raw materials or components thereof for a maximum of 15 years for new enterprises or for existing enterprises engaged in altering, reconstructing or extending the approved enterprise.

Under the Micro and Small Scale Business Enterprises Act, 2006, micro and small enterprises enjoy the same incentives as provided to non-incorporated enterprises. In addition, such enterprises may benefit from free professional advice in the areas of management, accounting, marketing, production techniques and other advisory services by government business development experts.

Department of Tourism

Under the Tourism Incentives Act, an approved tourism project could benefit from:

  • Up to 100% exemption from the payment of import duty on furniture, fixtures, fittings and other materials required for the construction of the approved tourism product.
  • Up to 100% exemption from the payment of income taxes from income accrued from a new hotel or other approved tourism product up to a maximum of 15 years.
  • Up to 100% exemption from the payment of income taxes in respect of income attributable to any extensions to an existing approved tourism product for a period not exceeding a maximum of 10 years.

Under the Tourism Stimulus and Investment Act which now expires on March 31, 2024, new and existing tourism projects can benefit from:

  • 100% waiver of the payment of value added tax during the development period on building material, furniture, equipment and locally produced art and craft.
  • 100% waiver of all duties and taxes as it relates to property tax and aliens landholding licence fees
  • 100% waiver of stamp duty and vendor's tax on the conveyance or transfer on sale of any immovable property for a tourism project on the initial transfer
  • 100 % waiver of customs duty on imports including fixtures and fittings for a period to be determined by Cabinet
  • 100% waiver of duty on imports of alternative energy and energy saving equipment, devices and fittings used for the approved development
  • 100% waiver of the payment of corporation tax for the duration of the development period
  • 100% waiver of payment of income tax on interest earned by an investor on any loan of any sum of money raised for the purpose of financing an approved development during the development period

The exemptions granted above shall be valid for the duration of the development period of the approved project but shall not exceed 25 years. The duration of the development period shall be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.  

Find out more...

Relevant documents Tourism Incentives Act Tourism Stimulus and Investment Act
Relevant institutions Department of Tourism

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Under the Agriculture and Fisheries Incentives Act, 2014, a person who applies for and benefits from incentives may receive the following for the approved agricultural project:

  • Up to 100% exemption from the payment of import duty and excise tax (where applicable) on the importation of agricultural inputs and other articles needed for an approved agricultural project.
  • Up to 100% exemption from the payment of income tax on income accrued from the approved agricultural project for a maximum period of 10 years in the first instance.
  • A person may submit an application for the renewal of income tax exemptions by submitting an application on the form prescribed in the Act.
  • Up to 100% exemption from the payment of service charge applicable under the Service Charge Act on the importation of agricultural inputs and other articles needed for an approved agricultural project.

According to the Act, an approved agricultural project includes the purchase of agricultural inputs, development of a facility, the purchase of related transport equipment and the introduction of clean and renewable energy.

What Investors Think

Investors were generally satisfied with the level of concessions offered by Government to assist with the establishment of businesses. They however complained that the process appeared too subjective and greater transparency was needed.

They welcomed the online process for applying for trade licences. 

Population

Saint Lucia had a resident mid-year population estimated at 173,165 in 2018 of which 49.6 percent was male and 50.4 percent female. The labour force in 2018 was estimated at 102,005 with an unemployment rate of about 20.2 percent.

Find out more...

Relevant documents Economic Review 2018

Skills

Saint Lucia's education system is fashioned off the British model with more recent modifications. It is governed by the provisions of the Education Act No. 41 of 1999 which makes it mandatory for students ages 5-15 to participate in the educational process. The sector comprises early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. It comprises a mix of government and private institutions. 

The country achieved universal secondary school education in 2006 and in so doing, made it possible for every child who has taken the eleven-plus national examination to be guaranteed a place at a secondary school. Adult literacy is 90.1 percent.

There are 74 primary and 23 secondary schools. The Sir Arthur Lewis Community College is the main tertiary level institution. 

Tertiary education is also provided, with the following institutions:

  • Unversity of the West Indies (UWI)
  • Monroe College
  • American International Medical University
  • International American University College of Medicine 
  • Spartan Health Sciences University
  • Lynchburg College St. Lucia

  • Most students who receive a tertiary education attend the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. The College offers associate degrees and certificates in a range of professional subject areas. The University of the West Indies offers Saint Lucians the opportunity to pursue degree programmes at any of its major campuses at Cave Hill, Barbados; St. Augustine, Trinidad; and Mona, Jamaica or through the Open Campus. The Open Campus makes it possible for people to pursue university training while still remaining in the workforce and thereby contributing their new knowledge and skills immediately in their work environments.

    The Government also provides annual scholarships to full-time students at the UWI in the form of economic cost to qualifying students in areas that it has prioritized. Skills training is also provided through the National Skills Development Centre where learners receive training in a range of disciplines which qualifies them at different levels under the CARICOM Vocational Qualification Programme. In addition, training is also provided to the youth through programmes offered by the Centre for Adolescent Renewal and Education and the National Enrichment and Learning Programme. 

    The government also provides opportunities for students to pursue university education in a range of areas through scholarships it has secured with friendly countries through diplomatic arrangements. These programmes allow young Saint Lucians to not only benefit academically at universities outside the Caribbean but also to experience new cultures which serve to enhance the international outlook of the Saint Lucian workforce. Grants are therefore received for study in countries such as Mexico, Turkey and Taiwan (Province of China).

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Saint Lucia Education Act

    Employment and Contracts

    Provisions for labour and industrial relations in Saint Lucia including terms and conditions for continued employment are governed by the Labour Code, No. 37 of 2006. Under this legislation, a contract of employment may take one of the following forms:

    • a contract without reference to limit of time;
    • a contract for a specified period of time; or
    • a contract for a specific task.

    A contract of employment may be terminated by either party but this shall be done in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Labour Code concerning unfair dismissal and notice of termination.

    An employer may prepare a written contract describing the terms and conditions of employment that have been agreed upon. This should be done within 14 days from the commencement date of employment. Where a contract of employment is not written, the employer shall explain to the employee the contents of the contract of employment.

    Where a contract of employment for a specified period or specific task is the filling of a post within the normal and permanent activity of the enterprise and that the period of employment extends for over two continuous years, that contract shall be deemed a contract without reference to limit of time.

    The Labour Commissioner is responsible for the administration of the Labour Code. This includes the settlement of any differences between employers and employees; encouraging the development of tripartism and collective bargaining and providing technical advice to employers and trade unions on industrial relations.

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Saint Lucia Labour Code
    Relevant institutions Department of Labour

    Termination of employment

    The Labour Code allows termination for:

    • serious misconduct;
    • unsatisfactory performance;
    • lack of qualifications or skills;
    • fundamental breach of contract;
    • redundancy of the position; and
    • winding up of the enterprise.

    An employer is entitled to dismiss an employee summarily without notice if the employee is guilty of serious misconduct. Serious misconduct includes but is not limited to:

    • wilful disobedience of lawful orders given by the employer;

    • repeated substantial neglect of duties;
    • repeated absence from work without the permission of the employer or without reasonable excuse;
    • refusing to follow health and safety measures instituted at work thereby endangering the health and safety of employees or members of the public; and
    • theft or wilful damage of property of the employer or another employee at the work place;

    Wages

    The following table highlights the average salary paid by reputable employers to workers by of the listed categories of employment. Under Saint Lucian law there is no minimum wage but employers are typically guided by the labour market and through negotiations with workers' trade unions. The right to representation by a trade union of the workers' choice is guaranteed under the Labour Code.

    Prices

    UnitValueYearComment
    Senior ManagerUSD3,356-5,9262018per month plus company vehicle and housing allowance
    Middle ManagerUSD2,148-2,4072018per month plus travelling allowance
    AccountantUSD1,741-2,3332018per month plus travelling allowance
    EngineerUSD1,963-2,9632018per month plus travelling allowance
    Graduate EntryUSD1,296-1,6672018per month
    Office ClerkUSD741-1,0002018per month
    Skilled TechnicianUSD926-1,2962018per month
    Shop AssistantUSD481-8152018per month
    Office AssistantUSD407-5562018per month
    Driver USD481-7042018per month
    Security GuardUSD370-5932018per month
    Unskilled LabourerUSD333-3702018per month

    Non-Wage Benefits

    The law requires the following non-wage benefits to be provided to employees.

    Non-Wage Benefit Provided by an Employer

    Benefit Amount paid
    Payment for uncertified sick leave Maximum of two consecutive days. Aggregate cannot exceed 12 days per year
    Annual leave 14 working days up to five years and 21 working days exceeding five years
    Redundancy pay Depends on number of years of service. (Section 160 of the Labour Code)
    Severance pay As per Collective Agreement
    Maternity leave Maximum of 13 weeks

    Social Security Contributions

    Any business in which at least one person employed either on a part-time or full-time basis must register with the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) within seven days of starting the business. Upon registration, a number will be issued which becomes the business's permanent identification at the NIC. It never changes and is never re-issued at the cessation of business. It must be quoted on all correspondence between the employer and the NIC.

    The payment of national insurance by employers and employees is governed under the National Insurance Corporation Act. Payments are made according to the table below and must be completed on or before the seventh (7th) of the month following the month to which the contributions relate.

    Contribution by employer (%) Contribution by employee (%)
    Percentage of gross earnings 5 5

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents National Insurance Corporation Act
    Relevant institutions National Insurance Corporation

    Social security benefits (short term)

    Employment Injury

    A person who is in insurable employment and sustains an injury as a result of his employment which hinders or prevents the person from performing duties is entitled to employment injury benefit. The insured person must have been authorized to perform the said task, at the time of his or her injury. An employment injury benefit is paid for a maximum of 52 weeks. It is paid at 65 percent of the insured person’s insurable earnings in the month of the injury. National Insurance refunds medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident, up to a limit of EC $20,000

    Sickness Benefit

    This is paid to a person who has contributed at least six months since registering in the programme. This is paid at the rate of 65 percent of the person's earnings for a maximum of 26 weeks.

    Maternity Benefit

    A maternity benefit is a combination of a maternity allowance and a maternity grant paid to a woman who has paid contributions for at least seven months in the ten months immediately preceding the month of expected confinement. It is paid at a rate of 65 percent of the person's earnings for a maximum of three months. The maternity grant is a lump sum of EC$ 600.

    Funeral Grant

    A funeral grant of EC$ 1,750.00 is payable on behalf of a deceased insured person.

    Social security benefits (long term)

    Retirement Pension

    Upon attaining the age of 65 years, a person who has contributed to the national insurance for a minimum of 15 years is entitled to a retirement pension for the rest of their life. 

    Invalidity Benefit

    A person who has become an invalid other than as a result of employment injury, is under the pensionable age, is not in receipt of sickness benefit and who has contributed to national insurance for at least five years qualifies for invalidity benefit. This benefit is paid  for as long as the incapacity continues or until the pensionable age when the benefit would be transferred to a retirement pension.

    Survivor's Benefit

    A survivor's benefit is paid to a deceased widow, widower or children of the deceased insured person who qualified for either a pension or grant at the time of death. 

    A widow or widower without dependent children would receive 75 percent of the deceased’s pension entitlement. A widow or widower with dependent children would receive 50 percent, while the children receive the remaining 50 percent.

    Work Permits

    Any employed or self-employed person who is not a national of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), nor a CARICOM National qualifying under the Free Movement Regime of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), requires a work permit to be employed or manage a business in Saint Lucia.

    Foreigners who have obtained residency in Saint Lucia also require a work permit.

    Work permits are approved by the Department of Labour.

    In applying for a work permit, employers are required to demonstrate that having called for applications through the publication of a job vacancy, a suitable applicant could not be found locally.

    In reviewing applications, the Department of Labour considers:

    • whether the use of expatriate personnel is part of a human resources strategy in which the skills of local personnel are developed in order to assume such roles in the future;
    • whether a work permit is required for key roles (such as CEO/general manager, finance director) or other roles; and
    • whether the permit is for a temporary assignment or an ongoing one.

    Once approved by the Department of Labour, the worker may travel to the country. If from a country not requiring a visa, the worker enters at the port of entry and obtains an entry stamp indicating permission to work. If from a country requiring a visa, the worker applies online for a visa. 

    Once in the country, the employer brings the passport to the Immigration Department, along with a written undertaking to pay the worker's return ticket and the passport is endorsed with a work permit of up to a year. The permit is renewable on a yearly basis.

    The spouse of a worker receives an extension of stay in the passport, linked to the work permit.

    Children of a worker must obtain a letter of enrolment from an educational institution in Saint Lucia. This qualifies them for a student permit.

    A CARICOM national, apart from OECS nationals, does not require a work permit if he/she is a holder of a CARICOM Skilled National Certificate. These certificates are issued to CARICOM Nationals in their home countries or in Saint Lucia during their first six months of stay. It is however preferable to obtain the CARIOCM Skilled National Certificate before entering the country.

    Documents for work permits

    • A work permit application form. This involves obtaining and completing an "A" Form from the Department of Labour. The form, along with EC$ 100 is submitted to the Government Treasury Office. A Treasury Receipt will then be issued which should be returned to the Department of Labour upon which a work permit application form will be issued.
    • A certificate of character (police record) from the last country or residence.
    • Certified documentary proof of qualifications
    • Saint Lucia Trade Licence (applicable only for foreigners who own a company in Saint Lucia)
    • Copies of advertisements for the position applied for.
    • Evidence that income tax has been paid
    • One passport size photograph

    What Investors Think

    Investors were mainly concerned with the quality of the skills of the workers who they employed. In the 2018 Investment Climate Assessment Survey of Saint Lucia, 45 percent of investors surveyed cited this as a moderate obstacle to the growth of their enterprises.

    The process of obtaining work permits was perceived as too lengthy and paper-based; the introduction of technology into the process was cited as a possible solution. Concerns were raised that official letters were not always accepted when requesting foreign workers at the management level and internal rules seemed changeable.

    Electricity

    St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) is the sole commercial generator, transmitter and distributor of electricity in Saint Lucia. LUCELEC operates an 86.2MW diesel-powered generation facility at Cul De Sac in Castries (North West), a 3MW solar farm at La Tourney in Vieux Fort (South) and a 2 MW standby facility at Belle Plaine in Soufriere (West). Electricity is supplied to customers via a 66kV transmission network, seven substations and an 11kV distribution network at 240V single phase or 240/415 3-phase. The electricity supply is very reliable.

    Applications for electricity supply can be completed at any of LUCELEC’s administrative offices. The applicant must provide a certificate of approval of the electrical installation from the Chief Electrical Inspector of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Energy, Port Services & Transportation.  Proof of legal ownership of the property on which the connection is required via a copy of the appropriate extract from the Land Register no older than 30 days or proof of permission to be connected on the property from the property owner must also be provided.

    A security deposit equivalent to an estimated 2-months consumption must be paid at the time of application. The deposit will be retained by LUCELEC and accrue interest. The deposit and interest are refundable once the service is no longer required and all charges due are paid.

    For commercial 3-phase installations, there may be additional charges if the distribution network needs to be upgraded to facilitate the connection. LUCELEC will schedule a site visit to evaluate the needs and provide a cost estimate for the scope of work identified within fifteen (15) working days from the time the request was received. The customer will be asked to pay this cost in addition to the security deposit.

    For connections not requiring any improvements to the distribution network, LUCELEC will seek to provide electricity supply within 24 hours of payment.

    Cost of Electricity

    UnitValueYearComment
    Domestic (from 1-180 units)USD0.292 per unit2019Minimum charge per month $1.84
    Domestic (from 181 units upwards)USD0.311 per unit2019Minimum charge per month $1.84
    Commercial (all units low tension)USD0.347 per unit2019Minimum charge per month $11.04
    Industrial/Hotels (all units low tension)USD0.347 per unit2019Minimum charge per month $36.81
    Commercial (bulk high tension)USD0.3332019Minimum charge per month $184.03
    Industrial/Hotels (bulk high tension)USD0.3332019Minimum charge per month $184.03

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Electricity Supply Act
    Relevant institutions St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC)

    Water

    The management of water resources and the regulation of the provision and delivery of water and sewerage services in Saint Lucia is governed by the Water and Sewerage Act.

    Most of Saint Lucia’s portable water is sourced from surface water via abstraction from rivers. The Water and Sewerage Company Incorporated (WASCO), a wholly owned entity of the government is responsible for the abstraction, treatment and distribution of portable drinking water island-wide. The company processes and distributes approximately 13 million gallons of water daily and plans to increase production to about 20 million gallons per day by 2024.

    Applications to obtain a connection to WASCO can be made by completing an online application form or by obtaining the form from the company’s offices and returning same to any of the company’s offices. The particular requirements for a connection depends on the type of user (domestic or commercial); whether the applicant is new or seeking a reconnection or whether the applicant is a tenant or property owner. Key elements of the approval process involve proof of permission to construct the building where a water connection is requested and proof of ownership or the right to access the property.

    The quality of portable water produced in Saint Lucia is based on the guidelines established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Saint Lucia is one of the main sources of water for visiting cruise ships

    Prices (Water)

    UnitValueYearComment
    Domestic Tariff (First 3,000 gallons)USD4.522019per 1,000 gallons
    Domestic Tariff (In excess of 3,000 gallons)USD9.232019per 1,000 gallons
    Domestic TariffUSD9.042019Minimum charge 2,000 gallons
    Commercial/IndustryUSD12.312019per 1,000 gallons
    Commercial/IndustryUSD24.622019Minimum charge 2,000 gallons
    HotelsUSD13.542019per 1,000 gallons
    GovernmentUSD8.612019per 1,000 gallons
    ShipsUSD24.612019per 1,000 gallons

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Water and Sewerage Act
    Relevant institutions Water and Sewerage Company Inc (WASCO)

    Telecommunications

    Saint Lucia has two public mobile telecommunications providers and two internet network services providers, Cable & Wireless and Digicel. Cable & Wireless is also the lone fixed line public network provider.

    Saint Lucia is served by three submarine cable providers: Cable & Wireless, Antilles Crossing and Southern Caribbean Fibre. The current capacity of the network infrastructure in place more than surpasses Saint Lucia's needs for the medium to long term.

    Prices

    UnitValueYearComment
    Fixed Voice TrunkUSD18.002019Per Month
    Internet Fixed Broadband Service (40Mbps) USD75.002019Per Month
    Internet Fixed Broadband Service (100Mbps)USD328.002019Per Month
    Dedicated Internet Access USD100.00 per Mpbs2019Per Month
    Mobile Internet/Data Service (LTE)USD9.00 per Mpbs2019Per Month
    Mobile Voice per minute rate USD0.112019Per Month
    Metropolitan-area Ethernet USD65.002019Per Month

    Transport Infrastructure

    Saint Lucia's transport infrastructure allows for easy direct communication via air and sea with the rest of the world. There are five official seaports of entry, two airports and a comprehensive inland road transportation network which allows for relatively easy access to any part of the country within a maximum of one and a half hours. 

    Roads

    Saint Lucia has 137 km of primary, 114 km of secondary and 390 km of collector roads. The core (primary) road network forms a ring around the island. There are many other link (secondary) roads especially in the north of the island which provide convenient alternative routes to major locations.

    Air

    Saint Lucia's two airports are the Hewanorra International Airport located in the south of the island and the George F.L. Charles Airport situated in the north alongside the Vigie Beach and a mere ten minute drive from the city centre, Castries. The runway is 6,200ft long and caters mainly to regional aircraft and small jets.

    Hewanorra International Airport is located within 5 miles of the southern Seaport and Freezone area. It has a runway of 9,000ft (2,743.2m) and is 11ft above sea Ievel. It accommodates long-haul aircraft of the 747 class. In 2016 the airport handled almost 650,000 passengers and recorded over 16,000 aircraft movements. An airport expansion project (see growth sectors and opportunities) is scheduled to commence in 2019 and will result in the creation of new arrivals and departures terminals. New parking aprons will be constructed with five jet bridges and six new parking positions for wide-bodied aircraft.

    Both airport and seaport operations are managed by the Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority (SLASPA). This is a statutory authority established under the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority Act No. 10 of 1983. 

    Find out more...

    Relevant institutions Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA)

    Maritime

    Saint Lucia has five official seaports of entry. The largest of these, Port Castries, accommodates both cargo and cruise ships. There are two dedicated cruise berths on the northern side of the harbour capable of accommodating vessels measuring up to 1,141 ft on the primary berth and up to 787 ft on the secondary berth. In addition the original Queen Elizabeth (QE) pier which for over a century was the primary cargo berth in Castries has been turned into a secondary cruise facility which adjoins the newer container terminal. The combined continuous length of the QE dock and Container Terminal is capable of accommodating passenger ships up to 1082 ft in length.

    Cargo operations

    The Authority is the custodian of all cargoes imported into the country by sea. There is a Shed available with a total floor space in excess of 100,000 sq. ft (30,480m2). In addition the port has 400 TEU ground slots for containers

    Cargo operations are handled at Port Castries in the north and Port Vieux Fort in the south of the island. Both ports provide a 24 hour service and are equipped with mobile harbour cranes with lifting capacity of up to 104 tons. Vessels with a draft of up to 30ft could be accommodated in Port Castries while Port Vieux Fort can cater to vessels with a similar draft of up to 30ft .Port Vieux Fort is designed to cater mainly for transshipment cargo operations.

    Cruise operations

    The dedicated cruise berths at Pointe Seraphine can accommodate ships with a draft of up to 31ft. Recent investments in a breasting berth extension now make it possible to cater to cruise ships of the Royal Caribbean Quantum class with passenger capacity of 4,905.  There are duty free shopping facilities at all cruise berths that provide ample opportunity for shopping.

    Yachting operations

    Three of the five seaports cater primarily to the yachting subsector. The largest is the Rodney Bay in the north. In there, the IGY Marina has 253 slips and can accommodate 32 mega yachts. The two other ports are the Marigot seaport in the northwestern part of the island and the Soufriere seaport in the southwestern part of the country. For the last 33 years, Saint Lucia has welcomed the cruisers crossing the Atlantic as part of Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) which begins at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. There is every indication that Saint Lucia will continue to be the final destination for this global event in the foreseeable future.

    In more recent times there is a growing presence of mega yachts berthing at Port Vieux Fort primarily to make convenient connections at Hewanorra International Airport due to its close proximity.

    Transport Costs

    The following are indicative transport costs and transit times to Port Castries from key cities.

    Prices

    UnitValueYearComment
    Palm Beach, FloridaUSD3,800201840ft Container. 5 days
    Palm Bach, FloridaUSD2,500201820ft Container. 5 days
    Halifax, CanadaUSD6,000201840ft Container. 15 days
    Xiamen, ChinaUSD6,400201840ft Container. 53 days
    Yokohama, JapanUSD7,103201840ft Container. 43 days
    Yokohama, JapanUSD5,276201820ft Container. 43 days
    Veracruz, MexicoUSD5,215201840ft Container. 24 days
    Santos, BrazilUSD5,000201840ft Container. 28 days
    Le Havre, FranceUSD5,433.71201840ft Container. 28 days
    London, United KingdomUSD3,867.69201840ft Container. 32 days
    London, United KingdomUSD2,640.28201820ft Container. 32 days
    Hamburg. GermanyUSD5,273.18201840ft Container. 30 days
    Genoa, ItalyUSD5,212.83201840ft Container. 23 days
    Kaohsung, Taiwan (Province of China)USD6,400201840ft Container. 48 days
    Kaohsung, Taiwan (Province of China)USD4,876201820ft Container. 48 days

    Other Costs

    The following indicative products and costs are drawn out of a list of goods that are important to most people living in Saint Lucia. 

    Prices

    UnitValueYearComment
    PetrolUSD1.142018Per litre
    DieselUSD1.142018Per litre
    CementUSD8.13201842.5Kg
    Coca ColaUSD2.2220182L
    Local BeerUSD1.302018275ml
    Imported BeerUSD1.632018250ml
    Bottled WaterUSD0.7920181.5 litres
    Evaporated MilkUSD0.832018410g/385ml
    RiceUSD3.4220182Kg
    FlourUSD1.4220182Kg
    Brown SugarUSD1.6720182Kg
    Whole ChickenUSD3.332018Per Kg
    Corn FlakesUSD3.392018510Kg
    EggsUSD2.782018Per dozen
    PotatoesUSD1.132018Per Kg
    PorkUSD6.492018Per Kg
    BeefUSD10.972018Per Kg
    MuttonUSD8.702018Per Kg
    Fish (Dorado)USD9.782018Per Kg

    What Investors Think

    Investors appreciate the quality of electricity supply and telecommunications infrastructure. However the average cost of both of these utilities was deemed high. The dependence on fossil fuels is perceived as an important reason for the high costs.

    The quality of the water supply was highly commended. Investment in road infrastructure was deemed necessary and investors welcomed the initiative by the Government to construct a highway along the East coast providing another link between the north and south of the island. This they thought would significantly reduce travel time.

    Costs of shipping remain an issue given the small market size and the need for transshipment.

    Types of Land

    All land in Saint Lucia is either owned by the State/Crown (8 percent) or privately. The Commissioner of Crown Lands is the custodian of State lands and acts as the administrator of such lands. The Head of the Physical Panning and Development Division is responsible under the Physical Planning and Development Act for granting or refusing permission for the development of land in the country.

    All land in Saint Lucia is registered by block and parcel number with the Registrar of Lands. Land is also classified by use and can be designated for conservation, industrial, commercial, agriculture, residential, recreational, touristic, institutional, or any other purpose.

    Development approval is needed from the Development Control Authority (DCA), prior to commencement of any land development work on the Island. An application for permission to develop land has to be made on the prescribed application form accompanied by necessary maps, drawings, and related documentation for review. Depending on the nature of the proposed development and likely negative impact on the environment, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report has to be submitted in order to evaluate the application and make decisions. 

    Acquisition Procedures

    The Aliens (Licensing) Act Cap 15.37 of the Revised Laws of Saint Lucia provides for a foreign investor to hold land in Saint Lucia. Under the Act, a foreign investor may apply on the prescribed form to Cabinet for a licence to hold land. The Cabinet may grant a licence to hold land as owner, or as lessee for a term of not less than 2 years. 

    The Minister for Finance may, where the land concerned is not more than ½ an acre, grant to a foreign investor a licence to hold land, whether subject to certain conditions or not, but shall not grant more than one licence to the same investor. 

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Aliens Licensing Act

    Application for license to hold land

    An application for a licence to hold land shall contain:

    • particulars as to the ownership and location of the land;
    • the purpose for which the land is to be utilized;
    • a plan by a licensed surveyor delineating the land;
    • a receipt for the payment of the relevant application fees;
    • a police certificate of good character from the applicant’s country of domicile and, if not the same, that person’s country of nationality; and
    • any other information required by the Minister.

    Where land is to be used for a project except agriculture, the applicant shall submit evidence that the Development Control Authority has confirmed that the use intended for the land is not inconsistent with environmental, zoning or planning considerations.

    An applicant for a licence under the Aliens Licensing Act is required to pay, in addition to other duties or charges under other enactments Stamp Duty, a non-refundable application fee and a licence fee.

    Land Costs

    Indicative land costs are displayed below

    Prices

    UnitValueYearComment
    Warehouse (Castries & Gros Islet)USD$0.74 - $0.932019Per Sq Ft. per Month
    Warehouse (Vieux Fort)USD$0.56 - $0.742019Per Sq Ft. per Month
    Land (Gros Islet)USD$14.80 - $18.522019Per Sq. Ft.
    Land (Vieux Fort)USD$9.26 - $11.112019Per Sq. Ft.

    Environmental Impact Assessment

    The Physical Planning and Development Act provides the legal framework and requirements for the development of land in Saint Lucia. Under the Act, the Head of the Physical Planning and Development Division may require that an environmental impact assessment be carried out in respect of any application for permission to develop land. 

    There are however areas of economic activity for which an environmental impact assessment shall be required. The full list of areas is contained in the fourth schedule of the Physical Planning and Development Act. Some of these areas include:

    Hotels of more than the number of rooms specified in the Regulations

    • Marinas
    • Ports
    • Coastal zone developments
    • Desalination plants
    • Development in wetlands, marine parks, national parks, conservation areas, environmental protection areas or other sensitive environmental areas

    In addition to the Act, a detailed guide to the process of undertaking any development which involves use of land or construction of buildings in Saint Lucia is provided below.

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Physical Planning and Development Act

    When an EIA is required

    An Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) is generally required when undertaking developments of the following nature:

    • Hotels of more than the number of rooms specified in the Regulations
    • Subdivisions of more than the number of plots specified in the Regulations
    • Residential development of more than the number of units specified in the Regulations
    • Any industrial plant which in the opinion of the Head of the Physical Planning and Development Division is likely to cause significant adverse environmental impacts
    • Quarrying and other mining activities
    • Marinas
    • Land reclamation, dredging and filling of ponds
    • Ports
    • Dams and reservoirs
    • Hydro-electric projects and power plants
    • Desalination plants
    • Water purification plants
    • Sanitary land fill operations, solid waste disposal sites, toxic waste disposal sites and other similar sites
    • Gas pipeline installations
    • Any development projects generating or potentially generating emissions, aqueous effluent, solid waste, noise, vibration or radioactive discharges
    • Any development involving the storage and use of hazardous materialsCoastal zone developments
    • Development in wetlands, marine parks, national parks, conservation areas, environmental protection areas or other sensitive environmental areas

    Construction Permits

    Permission must first be obtained from the Development Control Authority (DCA) before engaging in any type of structural or land development. Approval in Principle may be sought where the developer seeks permission from the DCA for a conceptual development. This does not constitute permission to commence development. 

    In seeking permission to undertake a development the following procedure is followed:

    • The first step is for developer or their agent to submit their applications to the DCA's office for review, payment of registration fees and registration of applications.
    • Registered applications are then assigned to planning officers where the proposed development is a major one and to building officers for small developments. In both cases, the officers undertake site visits, hold discussions with the developers/designers, review the proposed developments at weekly meetings and prepare appraisal reports.
    • Small developments are approved by the Chairman of the DCA and ratified by the DCA Board. For major applications, the Board undertakes the review and approval.

    Depending on the nature of the development to be undertaken, for example construction of a hotel, residential building or extension of an existing building, a different set of documents and fees would be required. This is outlined in the "Guide to Obtaining Permission to Develop Land" attached below.

    Special Economic Zones

    Apart from industrial free zones and a goods distribution free zone, there are no geographic areas in Saint Lucia defined or set aside for specific economic activity. However the government makes it possible under the Special Development Areas Act for certain types of investments to benefit from special incentives once these investments are made in specified areas of the country. The aim of these incentives is to encourage investment in the specified locations as a means of promoting balanced spacial and economic development.

    The special development areas are Vieux-Fort, Anse La Raye, Soufriere, Canaries, Micoud, Cul de Sac Valley and Choc Estate.

    Under the Act, an investor who invests in the construction of an industrial building or structure in the locations just listed will benefit from the special incentives regime if the building is for the purpose of:

    • the generation, transformation, conversion, transmission or distribution of electrical energy
    • manufacturing of goods
    • storage of raw materials for the manufacturing of goods
    • computer software development, data processing or agro-processing
    • agriculture, including horticulture and husbandry including the keeping or breeding of livestock and poultry or the growing of crops of fruits or vegetables

    Other activities which qualify for incentives when undertaken in the special development areas include:

    • conference centres
    • residential complexes
    • commercial or industrial buildings, including office complexes
    • other facilities directed towards the improvement or expansion of services to the tourism sector
    • water-based activities
    • tourism projects highlighting the heritage and natural environment of Saint Lucia
    • arts and cultural investments
    • agricultural-based activities
    • fisheries-based activities

    An investor must apply to the Minister for Finance to become an approved developer. The Minister may approve the application with or without special conditions. All approved developers are published in the Official Gazette.  

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Income Tax Act Special Development Areas Act

    Incentives

    The following are some of the incentives available under the Act

    • exemption from payment of income tax on interest received from a loan made to an approved developer by an investor during the development period
    • exemption from the payment of import duty and stamp duty on inputs for the construction of new buildings and the renovation or refurbishment of existing buildings
    • exemption from the payment of house and land taxes by an approved developer
    • exemption from the payment of Aliens Landholding License fee
    • exemption from Stamp Duty payable by vendors and purchasers on the initial purchase of property, whether by nationals or non-nationals
    • industrial and commercial building allowances

    Export processing zones

    The Free Zone Act provides for the establishment and operation of free zones in Saint Lucia to foster commerce, trade and investment with other countries and to promote economic growth and development. While the Act does not limit the activities within free zones solely to exports, the focus of the incentives provided is aimed at businesses whose primary activity is export oriented.

    An investor desirous of obtaining a free zone licence must apply to the Board of the Free Zone Management Authority (FZMA). Once a licence is granted, the free zone operator must seek services from a free zone developer.

    There are two existing free zone developers namely Invest Saint Lucia and the Free Zone Management Authority (FZMA). These developers have the authority to lease or sell land to private parties which have been issued a licence to operate in a free zone. They also have the power to:

    • make improvements, construct facilities and develop infrastructure to enhance the economic development of a free zone;
    • provide public or other services within a free zone;
    • construct roads, drains, railways and other infrastructure to facilitate trade within a free zone and between a free zone and international trading parties;
    • charge fees for any services or facilities it provides within a free zone;

    Cabinet may designate any geographical area a free zone.

    In deciding whether to grant a free zone licence, the Board takes into consideration whether the business will:

    • conduct trade and investment activities such as a commercial office, warehousing, manufacturing, insurance services, telecommunication services, financial services, banking services, or other professional, or related activities;
    • not have a deleterious effect on the environment having regard to any environmental impact assessment made for the purpose of the business; and 
    • be conducted in compliance with all applicable, legal and regulatory requirements under the laws of Saint Lucia.

    All merchandise, articles, or other goods entering a free zone for commercial purposes are exempt from all customs duties, taxes and related charges. This includes all fuel, building materials, furniture, equipment, supplies and parts required for the proper functioning of a free zone business.

    Motor vehicles and fuel for personal use entering a free zone are not exempted from taxes and duties.

    Imports or exports by a free zone business do not require an import or export licence except for goods, the importation of which is restricted under the External Trade Act.

    All exports from a free zone to the domestic economy are subject to duties under the national customs regime.

    Fiscal incentives

    For free zone businesses, the following income tax rates apply based on chargeable income:

    • Up to EC$ 15,000 of total chargeable income: 2 percent.
    • Over EC$ 15,000 and up to EC$ 30,000 of total chargeable income: 4 percent.
    • Over EC$ 30,000 and up to EC$ 100,000 of total chargeable income: 6 percent.
    • Over EC$ 100,000 of total chargeable income: 8 percent.
    The following income tax credits are also available:

    • From 10 to 30 citizens of Saint Lucia employed: 1 percent of taxable income
    • Over 30 and up to 50 citizens of Saint Lucia employed: 1.5 percent of taxable income.
    • Over 50 citizens of Saint Lucia employed. 2 percent of taxable income

    Other benefits

    • Exemption from income tax or capital gains tax for the first 5 years of operation
    • Exemption from taxes on dividends for the first 20 years of operation
    • The ability to carry forward losses incurred in the five years of the tax holiday period and have them deducted against profits for 3 years following the end of the 5 year tax holiday period.
    • Exemption from the payment of taxes on the proceeds of sale of stock or partial or complete ownership interest in a free zone business
    • Exemption from the payment of fees for work permits issued to management staff of free zone businesses for an initial period of 5 years.
    • No restrictions in respect of hours of operations of free zone businesses. They may open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Free Zone Act

    What Investors Think

    Access to land was not presented as a major obstacle to doing business in Saint Lucia. In the 2018 Investment Climate Assessment Survey of Saint Lucia, 57 percent of investors surveyed reported access to land as constituting no difficulty or moderate difficulty. 

    The incentives available in the export processing and special economic zones were described as welcoming and influenced the decision making of some investors to invest in Saint Lucia.

    Investors are advised to provide adequate time for the construction permit process.

    Tax Introduction and Registration

    All corporations, partnerships and sole enterprises must register with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and file income tax returns (regardless of profitability) no later than three months after the end of their financial year.   

    To register with the IRD as a corporation, a registration form must be completed, signed by either a director or secretary of the company and submitted to the IRD. The Articles of Incorporation as well as the Certificate of Incorporation must accompany the registration form. A tax identification number (TIN) will then be issued to the company. The TIN must be used on all correspondence to the Inland Revenue Department including remittances for PAYE, Instalments and any other tax type.

    Find out more...

    Relevant institutions Inland Revenue Department

    Corporate Tax

    Corporate tax is charged on all income received by a corporation from sources in and out of Saint Lucia.  All companies are required to pay to the IRD on or before March 25, June 25 and September 25 respectively, in each income year, an amount equal to one third (1/3) of the estimated tax for the year. The “estimated tax” is based on the income of the previous year.

    The residency of a company is determined by the country in which it is managed and controlled. Corporate tax is chargeable on all the profits of a resident company.


    Corporate Tax

    Category Rate (%)
    Normal Tax (Resident company) 30
    Normal Tax (Non-resident company) 33.33
    Withholding tax (CARICOM company) 15
    Withholding tax (Non-CARICOM company) 25

    Personal Income Tax

    All residents and non-residents are subject to the payment of personal income tax on income earned in Saint Lucia after allowances and deductions. This tax is levied only on income over $18,400 per annum received by resident or non-resident individuals whether those income sources are located in or out of Saint Lucia.

    A tax return must be filed by individual taxpayers by March 31 of each year. There is a penalty of 5 percent levied on chargeable income for late submissions. Chargeable income means the total income of any person remaining after deductions and allowances have been allowed. (see link below for more information)

    .Every employee, from whose emolument tax is deductible, is required to provide his employer with a Tax Code. The Tax Code is based on the declaration made by the employee on the Tax Declaration Form (TD-AU-1).The employer uses that tax code in order to determine the amount of tax to be deducted in accordance with the Tax Deduction Tables.

    The owner (employer) has the responsibility of administering the PAYE System of tax deduction in respect of the employees and must deduct PAYE from his or her employees. The amount deducted for any month must be remitted to the Inland Revenue Department by the fifteenth  day of the following month.

    See the IRD website below for the authorized Allowances and Deductions in the calculation of personal income taxes.

    Find out more...

    Value-Added Tax

    The Value Added Tax or VAT as it is commonly called is an indirect tax charged on taxable imports and the added value to taxable goods and services, supplied from one business to another or to a final consumer. VAT is charged when taxable goods are imported or when taxable goods and services are sold or provided. Only those businesses that are registered for VAT with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) can charge VAT. To qualify to charge VAT, a business must have a minimum annual sales volume of EC$180,000.

    Companies that are VAT registered businesses will pay VAT on purchases from other registered business. VAT will be charged on the sales made, then this is offset against the VAT collected. The difference is paid to or available for refund from Government.

    Companies that are not registered for VAT will pay VAT on purchases from any registered business but will not be able to charge VAT or claim credit for any VAT that was paid.

    The VAT Section of the Inland Revenue Department, as part of its Compliance Programme conducts Assurance Visits on VAT Returns filed by taxpayers. These visits are meant to verify the accuracy of VAT Returns filed, improve compliance, provide guidance and information and verify sources of information used to file the VAT Return.

    Registered businesses are required to maintain proper books and records, These books and records must be retained for a period of six years after the end of the period to which it relates, must be in English and currency in Eastern Caribbean Dollars and must be stored in Saint Lucia.

    Value-added tax

    Category Rate (%)
    Standard 12.5
    Hotel services 8
    Basic food items and exports 0

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Value Added Tax Act

    Property Tax

    Property tax is payable annually on commercial and residential properties. Both commercial and residential properties may benefit from certain exemptions. Newly constructed commercial properties are eligible for property tax exemption for the first three years of operation. The qualifying condition is that the property must be newly constructed. 

    For residential properties the range of exemptions include persons who:

    • have attained the age of 60 years and over;
    • the first three years after a home is constructed and becomes habitable for first time homeowners and; 
    • households earning less than US$ 2,222 per year.

    Exemption levels for the first three years for first time home owners is based on the size of the mortgage as follows:

    Level of exemption from property tax

    First time mortgages (USD) Rate (%) (exempted for first three years)
    Up to $74,075 100
    Between $74,076 - $148,148 75
    Between $148,149 - $222,222 50
    Over $222,223 25

    Capital Gains Tax

    Saint Lucia does not levy tax on capital gains.


    Contract Tax

    A contract tax is levied on income earned from a contractor by anyone who is a resident of Saint Lucia who provides or supplies independent personal services in exchange for compensation.


    Contract tax

    Category Rate (%)
    Standard 10

    Withholding Tax

    Royalties, franchise fees, consultancy fees and management fees paid abroad are subject to a witholding tax.

    Witholding tax

    Destination of funds Rate (%)
    CARICOM 15
    Outside CARICOM 25

    Customs Duties

    The Customs and Excise Department supervises and administers the government's border tax policy. The taxes administered by the Department include the import duty, service charge and excise tax regimes. Saint Lucia is a member of the regional free trade regime called CARICOM. Under this free trade agreement, Saint Lucia's import duty regime is part of  CARICOM's Common External Tariff (CET). The CET contains specific import duty rates for each type of good imported into Saint Lucia.

    Apart from a small approved list of goods, all goods originating/manfactured within a member state of CARICOM are accorded duty free treatment when traded among CARICOM member states. Goods originating from a non-CARICOM state face the import duty rates outlined in the CET unless there exists an approved free trade agreement between CARICOM and that non-CARICOM country.

    Service Charge is levied on all goods imported into Saint Lucia at a rate of 6%. 

    The Excise Tax is applied on a small list of goods imported or produced locally in Saint Lucia. The applicable rates range could be specific (an absolute value per unit of the good) or advalorem (a percentage of the value of the good).

    Access to the applicable rate of duty and excise charge on goods imported into Saint Lucia can be found in the link below.

    Typical duties according to the CET are below.


    Sample customs duties

    Category Rate (%)
    Cars 35
    Furniture 20
    Airconditioning units 20
    Cell phones 20
    Clothing 20
    Food and beverage 5

    Find out more...

    Relevant institutions Customs and Excise Department

    Other Taxes

    Other applicable taxes include taxes applied on the following:

    • Insurance premium tax: This tax is charged on receipt of a premium by an insurance company and includes both life and general insurances.
    • Travel tax: This tax is levied on the cost of each ticket purchased or issued for travelling purposes.Travel tax includes a tax paid on tickets sold for travelling out of Saint Lucia.
    • Stamp duty: This is tax that is levied on documents which would be affixed with a legal stamp.
    • Passenger facility tee: This fee is payable by a traveller in respect of every ticket issued by or on behalf of a carrier for travel into Saint Lucia.


    Double Taxation Agreements

    The country signed double taxation agreements with the following countries:

    • Canada
    • CARICOM member states
    • Denmark
    • Norway
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • United Kingdom
    • United States of America

    What Investors Think

    Investors have not cited tax levels or tax regulations as a concern.

    Customs processes were thought efficient, although concerns were raised about container inspections being held after normal working hours. It was felt that a single window would serve to greatly simplify the interactions between the Customs Department and the agencies of government involved in external trade.

    Legal Framework

    Saint Lucia bases its legal system on the British Common Law system but its Civil Code and property law is greatly influenced by French Law (Code Napoleon). The Constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary. The judicial system consists of lower courts, called Magistrates’ Courts, as well as a Family Court. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Saint Lucia) Act establishes the Supreme Court of Judicature, which consists of the High Court and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. The High Court hears criminal and civil matters and makes determinations on the interpretation of the Constitution. Appeals are made in the first instance to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, an itinerant court that hears appeals from all Eastern Caribbean States. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court sits in the Saint Lucian capital of Castries. Final appeal is to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. All laws must conform to the provisions of the Constitution and are void to the extent of any inconsistency.

    The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is the regional judicial tribunal, established in 2001 by the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice. The CCJ has original jurisdiction to interpret and apply the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. In its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ considers and determines appeals from Member States of CARICOM, which are party to the Agreement Establishing the CCJ. Saint Lucia is subject to the original jurisdiction of the CCJ.

    Investment Protection

    Once a foreign company has been legally established in Saint Lucia and subject to any specific conditions in its trade licence, the laws of Saint Lucia do not discriminate in their application between domestic or foreign companies. Saint Lucia's Constitution restricts the expropriation of property to the public interest, in which case appropriate and prompt and full compensation must be paid. 

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Saint Lucia's Constitution

    Revocation of license

    A trade license is required by all foreign individuals and companies wishing to do business in Saint Lucia (see Getting Started Tab for details). The current legislation does not make provision for the revocation of a license but addresses the penalties that could be invoked upon summary conviction for a contravention of the Act. 

    Find out more...

    Relevant institutions Department of Commerce

    Dispute settlement

    Any dispute in Saint Lucia can be finally heard and settled through its legal system. The judicial system consists of lower courts, called Magistrates’ Courts, as well as a Family Court. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Saint Lucia) Act establishes the Supreme Court of Judicature, which consists of the High Court and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. Appeals are made in the first instance to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court sits in the Saint Lucian capital of Castries. Final appeal is to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

    The judicial system upholds the sanctity of contracts. A dedicated Comercial Court has been established to speed up the resolution of commercial disputes.

    Saint Lucia is a party to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO Dispute Settlement Panel and Appellate Body resolve disputes over WTO agreements.

    The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is the domestic arbitration body within Saint Lucia and the local courts do recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards. The Arbitration Act (2001) provides general and specific provisions on arbitration rules and procedures in Saint Lucia.

    Saint Lucia is a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States of October 14, 1966.

    International investment agreements

    Saint Lucia is signatory to two bilateral investment treaties with the following countries:

    • United Kingdom (January 18, 1983)
    • Germany (March 16, 1985)

    Investment provisions are also contained in a number of CARICOM trade agreements.

    Repatriation of Funds

    Foreign companies registered in Saint Lucia have no restrictions (free of all government taxes or any charges on foreign exchange) to repatriate capital, dividends, royalties and profits. There are no foreign exchange controls, capital gains or bank interest taxes.

    As a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), Saint Lucia has a foreign exchange regime that is fully liberalized with the Eastern Caribbean dollar pegged to the United States dollar at an exchange rate of US$ 1 to EC$ 2.70.

    Intellectual Property

    Saint Lucia has a wide legislative framework regarding its commitment to the protection of intellectual property rights. The administration of intellectual property laws in Saint Lucia are under the responsibility of the Attorney General. The registration of patents, trademarks, and service marks is administered by the Office of the Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property.

    Article 66 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (2001) establishing the Caribbean Single Market and Economy commits all 15 members to implement stronger Intellectual Property (IP) protection and enforcement.

    The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was signed between the CARIFORUM States and the European Community in 2008, contains the most detailed obligations in respect of IP in any trade agreement to which Saint Lucia is a party. 

    Article 139 of the EPA requires parties to “ensure an adequate and effective implementation of the international treaties dealing with intellectual property to which they are parties and of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS).” 

    International agreements

    Saint Lucia is signatory to the following intellectual property agreements.

    Washington Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits (1989)

    Link to WIPO website

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents WIPO Washington Treaty

    The WIPO Copyright Treaty (1996) extends the copyright protection granted by previous treaties, in particular the Berne Convention, to new information technologies, including computer programmes and databases.

    Link to WIPO website

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents WIPO Copyright Treaty
    Vienna Agreement Establishing an International Classification of the Figurative Elements of Marks (1973)

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents WIPO Vienna Agreement
    Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (1957)

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents WIPO Nice Agreement

    Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (1961)

    Link to WIPO website

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents WIPO Rome Convention
    Patent Law Treaty (2000)


    Link to WIPO website 


    Find out more...

    Relevant documents WIPO Patent Law Treaty
    Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886) establishes minimum standards regarding the national protection of copyrights in signatory countries, and guarantees the application in these countries of the national copyright law to artistic works originating from another signatory country.

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents WIPO Berne Convention

    The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) establishes industrial property protection rules regarding patents, marks, industrial designs, trade names, geographical indications and the repression of unfair competition. Its provisions include regulations regarding the national treatment, the right of priority and a number of common rules.

    Link to WIPO website

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents WIPO Paris Convention

    Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (1967)

    Link to WIPO website

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents WIPO Convention

    WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (1996) grants performers and producers of phonograms (sound recordings) a number of rights, including the rights of reproduction, of distribution, of rental and of making available. Performers are also granted specific intellectual property rights regarding their live (unrecorded) performances : right of broadcasting, right of communication to the public, and right of fixation. The protection of those rights is granted for at least 50 years.

    Link to WIPO website

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents WIPO WPPT

    Competition Law

    Chapter 8 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas provides the competition policy applicable to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) States. Member States are required to establish and maintain a national competition authority for facilitating the implementation of the rules of competition. At the CARICOM level, a Caribbean Competition Commission is established to apply the rules of competition in respect of anti-competitive cross-border business conduct. 

    The CARICOM competition policy addresses anti-competitive business conduct, such as agreements between enterprises, decisions by associations of enterprises and concerted practices by enterprises that have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the Community; and actions by which an enterprise abuses its dominant position within the Community.

    No legislation is yet in operation to regulate competition in Saint Lucia. The OECS agreed to establish a regional competition body to handle competition matters within its single market. The draft OECS bill is under review by Attorney General's Office.

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas

    What Investors Think

    Investors thought that the judicial system was fair. They welcomed the presence of a Commercial Court to speed up the hearing of commercial matters.

    Economy and Production

    Saint Lucia is a small open economy located in the mid Eastern Caribbean between the islands of Martinique and St. Vincent. With a resident population estimated in 2018 at 173,165, Saint Lucia has the largest population among the seven member countries that comprise the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. Real GDP at market prices was estimated at US$1.34 Billion in 2018 and the economy expanded by 1.5% when compared to 2017. 

    Saint Lucia is primarily a services based economy with the lead sector tourism, (measured by activity in hotels and restaurants) contributing 9.3% of GDP in 2018. The performance of the tourism sector was driven by improved economic conditions in the major source markets contributing to increased external demand for Saint Lucia’s tourism product; increase in bednights from improved airlift in all major markets; expansion in the tourism plant; and increases in both the number of cruise ship calls and the size of the ships.

    Other sectors of the economy also recorded improved performance in 2018 with expansion recorded in the manufacturing, agriculture and wholesale and retail sectors. Agriculture, while contributing a statistically small percentage of GDP at 1.9% continues to be an important part of the economy due to its contribution to the rural economy and its role in food security.

    The government has also approved a National Investment Strategy and a National Export Strategy. These two policies provide the strategic framework through which growth and expansion of the private sector will be pursued. The National Export Strategy has identified the key sectors with capacity for export and addresses the interventions that will be pursued to increase exports. The National Investment Strategy supports the National Export Strategy in focusing on attracting investment especially in areas identified in the export strategy. Another key element in the investment strategy is its identfication of the key reforms that must be undertaken in the domestic business environment to make it easier to transact business.   

    Saint Lucia is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank issues the East Caribbean dollar, which is pegged to the US dollar, for all members of the Union. The Bank also manages monetary policy and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in union member states.

    Regional and International Markets

    Saint Lucia is a member of the following regional organizations and party to a number of international trade agreements

    Signed in 2008 between CARIFORUM's 15 states and the European Union's 27 states, it allows products from CARIFORUM economies 100 percent immediate duty- and quota-free access to the EU. EU access to CARIFORUM markets will however be phased in over 25 years, with protection for 17 percent of CARIFORUM goods and services. The agreement also covers competition, innovation and intellectual property, public procurement, and environmental and labour standards. More information: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/regions/caribbean.

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement

    Overseen by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas in 1973, it allows all goods originating from within CARICOM countries (except the Bahamas) to be traded without restrictions. Most member states also apply a common external tariff (CET) on goods originating from non-CARICOM countries. Investors operating in one CARICOM country are given preferential access to the entire CARICOM market. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishes the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), permitting the free movement of goods, capital and labour within CARICOM States. More information at: http://csmeonline.org.

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    Relevant documents CARICOM Treaty CARICOM Single Market

    The CBI provides for the United States to reduce tariffs on imports from CBI beneficiary countries if a) they are imported directly from a CBI beneficiary country into the U.S. customs territory; b) they are wholly the growth, product or manufacture of a CBI beneficiary country or are substantially transformed into a new or different article in the CBI beneficiary country; and c) contain a minimum of 35 percent local content of one or more CBI beneficiary countries (15 percent of the minimum content may be from the United States). More information: https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/trade-development/preference-programs/caribbean-basin-initiative-cbi.

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Trade and Investment Framework Agreement

    The Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement provides goods originating from the Commonwealth-Caribbean with duty-free access to the Canadian market. Certain goods, such as textiles and apparel, footwear, luggage and handbags are excluded. There are plans to replace this agreement with a reciprocal free trade agreement. More information at: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-98-36/page-1.html

    The OECS, established by the Treaty of Basseterre, consists of seven full Member States: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and three associate members: Anguilla, Martinique and the British Virgin Islands. The purpose is to promote harmonization among Member States in areas concerning foreign policy, defence and security, and economic affairs. The six independent countries of the OECS ratified the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union on January 21, 2011. The Economic Union established a single financial and economic space within which all factors of production, including goods, services and people, move without hindrance.

    Tourism

    Saint Lucia's tourism industry assumed the status of lead sector of the economy from the late 1990s following the drastic contraction in the agricultural sector, primarily the banana sub-sector. Tourism has since expanded steadily and is today the largest foreign exchange earner and employment generator. 85.9% of tourism spending is attributed to leisure spending while 14.1% to business spending. 

    In 2018, more than 1.23 million persons visited Saint Lucia; a 10.2% increase over 2017. 394,780 were stayover visitors with 44.3% coming from the United States while strong numbers came from the UK, the Caribbean and Canada respectively. Cruise arrivals reached a record high of 760,306. This was a result of increased berthing facilities at Pointe Seraphine allowing for the berthing of oasis class vessels. 

    The factors driving Saint Lucia's tourism success are the uniqueness of the tourism product, government policy wiith respect to investment in the tourism sector and an aggressive and tactical marketing strategy.

    The beauty of Saint Lucia has earned her the title "Helen of the West". With a number of white sandy beaches, look-out spots, the World Heritage "Pitons" rising almost vertically for more than 2,000ft from the Caribbean Sea, to the drive-in volcano.

    Developing the value offered

    To showcase these assets, emphasis has been placed on developing the tourism product. This includes:

    • Tours and visitor attractions: These continue to grow and provide an opportunity for visitors to get a deeper understanding of the culture and history of the people of Saint Lucia. Investment in this area increases the opportunity for Saint Lucians to provide added value to the product within their own communities and villages. There is therefore opportunity, through joint venture arrangements, to expand the number and types of tours and create new attractions in Saint Lucia.
    • Training and human resource development: Strong emphasis has been placed on training and human resource development to ensure a high and acceptable standard is maintained in delivering service in the industry. Professional certification for various positions in the industry is provided by the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.
    • Expanding the accommodation sector: The type of accommodation is varied providing high-end all inclusive products; villas, small resorts, bed and breakfast, ep products and now the Airbnb experience. Five thousand new rooms are required within the next 10 years to double the existing room stock. Incentives are offered to support investment in the sector.
    • Culinary experience: The focus is on development of speciality restaurants to produce both local and international cuisine. Opportunities exists for investment in this sub-sector not only in physical plant but also in research on how local food can be used in innovative ways to create exciting menus.
    • Cruise tourism: The government has identified construction of a cruise terminal in the south of the island as a priority. This will lead to Saint Lucia becoming a home port for cruise lines given the international airport is a ten minute drive from the location for the new cruise terminal. Investment therefore will not only be welcomed in the construction of the terminal but in the provision of the ancillary services necessary for the operation of a home port.
    • Yachting: Saint Lucia is home to the finish of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers; an event which has been on Saint Lucia's calendar for over 30 years. Opportunities exist for providing services in bunkering, maintenance and repairs as well as entertainment.
    • Day-boat Charters: Saint Lucia's location in the middle of the Eastern Caribbean chain of islands and its close proximity to its neighbours makes it possible for easy travel by sea to islands north and south of the country. Chartering a boat provides the opportunity to experience the varied cultures of the region within a relatively short space of time. There is increasing demand for day-boat charters and this sub-sector provides opportunities for investment. 
    • Soft adventure: This includes horseback riding, zip-lining, scuba-diving and hiking through the rainforest. 

    • Maintaining a sustainable marine environment: The clear clean waters along Saint Lucia's coasts and the abundant sandy beaches provide ample opportunity for using the sea as a source of relaxation and exploration. The government has therefore embarked on implementing environmentally sound policies with respect to garbage disposal, deforestation, use of plastics, chemicals and pesticides and building construction aimed to protecting the marine environment. This will safe guard recreational marine activities such as kite surfing and jet skiing and encourage marine adventure activities such as diving and snorkling. 
    • Transportation: Ground transportation is provided mainly by a fleet of privately owned taxis. However travel by helicopter between the international airport in the south of the island and the main tourist centre in north has been growing in demand. Investment in that specific niche of the transportation sector is encouraged.

    Strategic tourism investments

    In expanding the tourism product the government has announced its intention to do the following:

    • Incentives: Continue to provide incentives for new hotel plants and for existing properties that wish to undertake expansion.
    • New airport terminal: Construct a new international airport terminal that will double the capacity of the existing one and increase efficiency in passenger handling. Five new jet bridges will be constructed as well as a new arrival and departure terminal. New opportunities for gift shopping will be created. Construction will commence in 2019. 
    • Increasing airlift: Increasing the number of seats available to Saint Lucia from key source markets by increasing the number of flights; increasing the number of direct flights; and making connections as seamless as possible have been key elements in Saint Lucia's tourism growth strategy. The government has therefore partnered closely with carriers to ensure that seat availability in maintained. Providing adequate airlift is also vital to the strategy of developing the Port of Vieux Fort as a home port for the cruise industry.  

    Marketing

    While knowledge of Saint Lucia within main source markets has grown over the years, marketing and branding remain key aspects of the future development of the product. Emphasis will therefore be placed on:

    • Maintaining Saint Lucia's status as the number one honeymoon destination in the world.
    • Positioning Saint Lucia as pursuing environmentally friendly and responsible tourism activities.
    • Emphasizing the originality and authenticity of the products provided and hence deepening the linkages between tourism and the rest of the productive sectors of the economy.
    • Demonstrating the capacity of Saint Lucia to keep introducing new tourism products.
    • Using all available technology in reaching potential visitors in key source markets. 

    Manufacturing and Agroprocessing

    Saint Lucia's manufacturing sector is diverse by regional standards. Manufacturing has maintained its share of GDP at about 5.5 percent over the last five years and continues to provide a major source of employment and foreign exchange. The sector which is comprised primarily of light manufacturing is made up of the following sub-sectors:

    • Food and beverage
    • Paper and paperboard
    • Fabricated metals
    • Electrical and electronic components
    • Furniture
    • Milling flour and animal feed

    Food and beverage production dominates output and is the leading type of manufactured export. Investments in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic plant has increased production capacity. Meanwhile preferential trading arrangements within CARICOM for its less developed members have led to increased exports of non-alcoholic products. 

    The alcoholic beverage sector is also very competitive. Manufacturers of both beer and rum have invested heavily in modernizing plant and equipment and have expanded the range of products. As a result, Saint Lucian rum and beer continue to win international awards and can be found on both in both regional and international markets.

    The agro-processing sub-sector is also diverse by regional standards, with exports to the Caribbean, North America, Europe and Asia. While the competitiveness of the industry has made it possible to penetrate export markets, investment in market research, product development and innovation would be welcomed as this sector seeks to expand product range and market share in foreign markets.  

    Expansion in the output of fabricated metals has increased in recent times due to growth in the domestic construction sector and in response to construction activity in neighbouring countries rebuilding following the passage of recent hurricanes. With anticipated growth in the construction industry both in Saint Lucia and the wider CARICOM in the short term, increased production capacity would be required. 

    Incentives under the Fiscal Incentives Act of 1974 provide for the waiver of duties on raw materials, packaging, machinery, spare parts for machinery, equipment and specialized vehicles used in the manufacture of approved products. An approved enterprise may also benefit from the waiver of income taxes for up to 15 years. Special provision is also made under the VAT Act with respect to payment of VAT on inputs used by approved manufacturers and on capital goods imported and used by new companies in the construction of their plant.

    Other regimes through which investors may also benefit include:

    • Special Development Areas Act
    • Income Tax Act
    • Free Zones Act
    • Agricultural and Fisheries Incentives Act

    Opportunities therefore exists for investments in all the manufacturing sectors especially fish processing and value added agriculture to meet the anticipated increased demand from an expanded accommodation sector. 

    The manufacturing sector is served by the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association (SMA), which provides advocacy on behalf of manufacturers. The SMA seeks technical assistance to build capacity at the enterprise level and recently completed a strategic plan with financial support from the European Union. Implementation of this plan should lead to increased competitvenss and productivity of the manufacturing sector. Opportunity therefore exists for partnering with local enterprises in expanding production as the strategic plan is implemented.

    North American Assemblies

    North American Assemblies, a US manufacturer based in Syracuse, New York, has had a manufacturing plant in Saint Lucia since 1993. The plant assembles filters that are installed by TV cable networks at users' homes. Clients include Comcast and Tigo. 


    The plant employs 130 staff of which 93 percent are women. The cable filters are shipped once a week by container to Miami from where the shipment is broken into consignments to Latin America, the US and Canada.


    The plant operates in a building leased from Invest Saint Lucia and designated as a free zone. Relevant fiscal incentives were reported as being easy to obtain and company setup was straightforward. Electricity is reported as reliable though expensive.

    Agriculture

    The agriculture sector, while contributing just under 2 percent of GDP over the last ten years remains an important part of the economy creating rural employment and contributing to exports. The sector is made up primarily of banana production, other crops such as roots and tubers, livestock (mainly pork and chicken) and fisheries. 

    While exports of bananas is considerably below the performance of the 1990s, there are positive developments in the industry. Export to the UK market continues to increase and important new markets in the USA and Canada have emerged. Government continues to provide support on the production side through initiatives such as farm rehabilitation and expansion under the Banana Productivity Improvement Project. Opportunities therefore exist for providing distribution services especially in the emerging markets. 

    The government encourages foreign investment in value added areas of the agriculture sector. Investment in research and development as well as in food and fish processing would be welcomed. Incentives are availabe under both the Fiscal Incentives Act and the Agriculture and Fisheries Incentives Act that encourage the investment in value added areas of agriculture.

    Business and Knowledge Process Outsourcing

    In the area of business process outsourcing (BPO) Saint Lucia has seen the expansion of existing contact centres and the establishment of new centres over the last ten years. The changes in the sector have been the result of:

    • a robust and reliable technology infrastructure;
    • a reputable legal and regulatory framework;
    • stable macroeconomic environment; and
    • persistent and progressive business environment reforms since the early 1990s.

    Saint Lucia has contact centres that focus on outsourcing with one specializing in artificial intelligence technology. Saint Lucia also has the capacity to support knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) businesses in a range of areas such as legal, financial technology (FinTech), architecture, web services, real estate and medical services. Its close proximity to the North American continent, similar time zones, young and educated population and fluency in English make it an ideal location for locating businesses engaged in BPO and KPO.

    Real Estate

    Performance of Saint Lucia's real estate sector is closely tied to visitor arrivals whereby visitors decide acquire property on the island. Given consistent growth in visitor arrivals, the sector has been experiencing steady growth in recent times. 

    There is great interest in properties around the US$ 400,000 to 500,000 price range especially in the north of the island. In this regard it should be noted that the minimum required investment to benefit from the Citizenship by investment programme is US$ 300,000. 

    The typical profile of property buyers is that of persons who are looking for a second home either to rent or to live in for a period during the year. Most buyers are from the UK, Canada or the USA and are increasingly persons in the 50 plus age range who have more leisure time.

    It typically takes about six months to conclude purchase of a property. Foreign buyers must obtain an Alien's Landholding Licence.  

    While there has traditionally been more interest in the north of the island, developments in the south, especially construction of a new international airport terminal, a new cruise port and the US$2.6 billion "Pearl of the Caribbean" project mean that there will be significant investment in the south of the island over the next ten years. 

    There is a Realtor's Association in Saint Lucia. Legislation to govern the practice of realtors is at an advanced stage with a draft bill already completed. Provision of real estate services is not open (liberalized) in Saint Lucia's WTO's services commitments. 

    Services

    In 2018, the government approved a services policy, strategy and action plan for the development of the services sector. The strategy has identified the following as the priority services sectors for development:

    • Professional services
    • Spa and wellness
    • Information, communication and technologies (ICT)
    • Creative industries

    Opportunities exist in each of these sub-sectors for investment especially through joint ventures. The government intends to approve a special incentives regime for the services sector aimed at assisting with the establishment of new businesses and for expansion of existing businesses.

    The Saint Lucia Coalition of Services Industries (SLCSI) is the private sector organization serving as the umbrella body for services industries. The Coalition advocates for policy interventions for the services sector and undertakes development actvities for members. The active participation of the Coalition in shaping policy, identifying and accessing funding from donors and developing projects that enhance the competitivenss of its members mean that the services sector has a strong platform from which members may partner with other services providers to access new markets. 

    Infrastructure

    As Saint Lucia builds its competitiveness to participate in the global economy, investment will be needed in critical areas. This will necessitate investment in both hard and soft infrastructure.

    Hard infrastructure

    With respect to hard infrastructure, investment in the following areas are national priorities:

    • A new cargo port: Construction of a new dedicated cargo port as an alternative to Port Castries either through a public private partnership (PPP) or through 100% financing by the private sector is a priority.
    • A new east coast highway: A new highway linking the north and south of the country on the eastern side of the island is a priority initiative of the government. This will shorten commuting time between the north and south and open up a new part of the country for development. The new areas will provide opportunity for new housing developments along with hotels and villas.
    • A new road between Castries and Gros Islet: Construction of a new road between Castries and Gros Islet is meant to significantly reduce traffic congestion along the existing highway. The new road will be dedicated to traffic travelling from Gros Islet to Castries while the existing highway will facilitate traffic travelling from Castries to Gros Islet.  
    • Redevelopment of Castries City: Transformation of the city of Castries to a modern city as the seat of government and the heart of business. This will require investment in hard infrastructure such as: 
      • Construction of roads, bridges and drainage systems
      • Expansion of power and water disttribution networks
      • Establishment of restaurants convention/meeting centres and new housing

    Soft infrastructure

    Given that Saint Lucia is a developing country with a primarily services based economy, the quality of its soft infrastructure is crtical to its development. Provision of telecommunications is regulated at the national level by the National Telecommunications Regulatroy Commission. The Commission has the responsibility to provide licences to telecommunications providers and ensure that appropriate standards are maintained in their operations. The Commission is established under the Telecommunications Act of 2000.

    The Act mandates the Commission to ensure there is fair competition in the provision of telecommunications and that there is a universal service regime which provides the widest possible access to telecommunications at an affordable rate over an efficient and modern telecommunications network.

    Investment is welcomed in the telecommunications sector as this creates a competitive environment which is necessary for the provision of the best possible service.

    Saint Lucia has one fixed network provider, two public mobile telecommunications providers and two internet network services providers. 

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents Telecommunications Act

    Renewable Energy

    The government is committed to generating 35 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. This is consistent with commitments made under the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement and other regional and international agreements. National Energy Transition Strategy (NETS) has been completed which paves the road for a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective and equitable electricity sector using the island’s local resources.

    With respect to solar power:

    • A 3MW solar power plant started providing power to the island's power company in April 2018 thereby reducing the annual volume of fuel purchased by LUCELEC by about 300 thousand gallons.
    • Two 25kW photovoltaic systems will be installed at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and the Gros-Islet Secondary School under a project funded by Taiwan (Province of China).
    • A 50kW solar carport has been installed at the parking facility at the Department of Infrastructure, Ports and Energy building.
    • A 200kW photovoltaic system is to be installed at the Owen King EU Hospital.

    With respect to geothermal energy, as of December 2018 some US$ 22.54 million had been secured by the Government to cover the cost of the exploratory drilling program and completion of the technical, policy/regulatory and implementation preparation activities that will inform a final decision on further geothermal development activities.

    As it relates to energy efficiency, the following has been embarked upon:

    • Rewiring and introduction of LED lighting in the government's administrative building in Castries.
    • Greening of three schools, which will promote best practices in green design architecture.
    • Procurement by government of three electric vehicles as part of a pilot project. This will enable decisions on procurement of electric vehicles going forward. 

    A National Energy Policy has been developed (see below) which outlines the national approach to all aspects of energy production, distribution and use. The National Energy Policy together with the National Energy Transition Strategy provide the framework for the sustainable development, production, distribution and use of energy and provides opportunity for private investment.

    Find out more...

    Relevant documents National Energy Policy

    Citizenship by Investment Programme

    The government makes it possible for foreign nationals to become citizens of Saint Lucia through the Citizen by Investment Act No. 14 of 2015 and its accompanying regulations. Through this legal framework one may become a citizen through investment in any one of the following four options:

    Investment in the Saint Lucia National Investment Fund: A minimum of US$ 100,000 is required where the applicant is applying alone.  If applying with a spouse it will cost US$ 165,000 and with two qualifying dependents the cost will be US$ 190,000. For any additional qualifying dependent, it will cost an additional US$ 25,000 per dependent

    Investment in an approved real estate project: The minimum investment amount is US$ 300,000. There is non-refundable administrative fee of US$ 50,000 for the principal applicant applying alone. For each qualifying dependent 18 years and over, there is an administrative fee of US$3 5,000 and for each qualifying dependent below the age of 18 years, the administrative fee is US$ 25,000

    Investment in an approved enterprise project: The minimum qualifying investment amount is US$ 3,500,000 with a lone investor. With the applicant applying as a joint venture, the minimum investment amount is US$ 6,000,000 (each applicant must invest a minimum of US$ 1,000,000). There is an administrative fee of US$ 50,000 for each investor. For a qualifying dependent 18 years and over, the administrative fee is US$ 35,000 and US$ 25,000 for a qualifying dependent below the age of 18 years

    Investment in the purchase of Government Bonds: The minimum invest amount is US$ 500,000. There is also a non-refundable administrative fee of US$ 50,000

    All applications are processed by the Citizen by Investment Unit which makes recommendations to the Board of the Citizenship by Investment Programme. All applications undergo a due diligence process by a team appointed by the Board for that purpose. 

    What Investors Think

    Investors were  generally of the opinion that Saint Lucia presents many opportunities for investment. Planned investment by the Government in key infrastructure projects such as the redevelopment of the Hewanorra International Airport, construction of the East coast highway and the redevelopment of the city of Castries are vital elements that could lead to transformation of Saint Lucia in the short to medium term. Addressing the cost of energy will be a major factor in boosting productivity. 

    Why Invest in Saint Lucia

    Saint Lucia as an ideal investment location is driven by the following:

    • An investment environment governed by the rule of law. Its legal system is based on the British common law system.
    • A youthful and educated workforce with a high work ethic.
    • Stable macroeconomic environment.
    • Stable political environment.
    • No restrictions on repatriation of capital, dividends, royalties and profits.
    • No foreign exchange controls, capital gains or bank interest taxes.
    • Seamless process for incorporating a business.
    • Exemption from the payment of income tax for up to 15 years.
    • Exemption from the payment of import duty on plant, equipment, machinery, spare parts, raw materials or components for up to 15 years.
    • Exemption from the payment of import duty on furniture, fixtures, fittings and other materials required for the construction of an approved tourism product.
    • Exemption from the payment of income taxes from income accrued from a new hotel or other approved tourism product for up to 15 years.
    • Reliable electricity supply and excellent water supply.
    • Modern telecommunications infrastructure.
    • Excellent air and seaports infrastructure.
    • Double taxation agreements with a number of developed countries.
    • A member of the WTO, CARICOM and the OECS and party to a number of bilateral preferential trade agreements including with the EU, Canada, and the US.
    • Excellent sea and air links to major markets.

    Country Data

    Country Data

    Date
    Official name Saint Lucia
    Country area 238 sq. miles or 616 sq. Km
    Capital city Castries
    Population 173,165
    Administrative regions There are 17 constituencies
    Local currency Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$)
    Exchange rate EC$2.70=US$1.00
    Official language(s) English
    Other national language(s) Kweyol (French-based Creole)
    GDP per capita US$10,896.90 2018
    Real GDP at market prices US$1.34 billion 2018
    Fiscal Year April 01 to March 31
    Normal Working Hours 8:00 A.M to 12:30 P.M and 1:30 P.M to 4:30 P.M

    Country Map

    last update on: 24/8/2021