Chamber calls on Govt, Opposition to act responsibly, quickly with FACTA bill

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 13:30

The Chamber of Industry and Commerce says it is concerned about the issues related to the FACTA legislation and is calling on the Government and Opposition to quickly resolve the matter in a responsible manner.

The Chamber issued a statement today on the controversial bill.

"The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce is deeply concerned by the unfolding issue between the Government and the Opposition with respect to legislation surrounding the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

While we appreciate stringent scrutiny of the Bill at the level of a Joint Select Committee, the T&T Chamber is wholly dissatisfied that the matter should have reached the point whereby the Government now has to seek an extension of the deadline date of September 30 from the US authorities.

The business community and, by extension, the population appears to be caught in the middle of this predicament, and rejects any attempt at what might well be political jousting on the part of our respective leaders. We therefore call upon the powers that be to act responsibly and with dispatch.

The critical importance of FATCA and its direct impact on Trinidad and Tobago’s banking and financial systems has been ventilated time and again by the T&T Chamber, and by several other local special interest groups, including the Bankers Association of TT.

The immediate implications of non-compliance are serious and far-reaching; among them, the disruption or termination altogether of banking relationships between businesses, financial service providers and non-compliant individuals.

US correspondent banking services such as wire transactions and currency transfer transactions will also be disrupted or terminated leading to a possible overall increase in the cost of doing business.

Particularly in a time of economic decline, fewer things can be more damaging than an eroded country image that cripples economic growth. Failure to comply with legislation can lead to such a situation, negatively impacting upon whether or not Trinidad and Tobago remains attractive to foreign investment and open for business.

The T&T Chamber therefore reiterates its call for the passage of legislation to enable FATCA requirements. The matter is one of urgency and needs to be concluded forthwith."