British Virgin Islands: Recent visit by high-level delegation from Shenzhen cast in new light

There seems to have been no reaction or coverage yet in the British Virgin Islands media of yesterday’s revelations by the ICIJ that key members of China’s elite control offshore companies in BVI.

However, the ICIJ reports do cast a new light on some parts of Premier Orlando Smith’s 2014 budget speech from last week:

– “As well, Madam Speaker there is no better manifestation of our forward leaning vision for economic growth, than last week’s very successful visit to the Territory of a high level delegation from Shenzhen. Shenzhen is one of the wealthiest cities in China. That visit Madam Speaker, was a direct result of opening the office in Hong Kong. After more than thirty years of providing financial services to China, during the visit we moved to the next level by signing a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen our relationship with Shenzhen.”

– “Madam Speaker, we have established a visible presence in the Asia/Pacific region, by opening the Hong Kong Office, further extending our footprint and positioning ourselves to better serve our customers and establish new relationships in this region. At least 40% of our financial services business comes from Asia and we are hoping to see this increase as a result of our presence there.”

– “Madam Speaker a significant part of the success of the BVI and the Government’s ability to provide the services it does today rests with the success of our financial services industry. This industry has faced challenges in the past year, and though I remain optimistic, it is clear that in this sector we have some hurdles to overcome if we intend to remain competitive. We will not, however, compromise on our reputation of a well regulated jurisdiction.”

The budget speech until a few hours ago was available for download here as a pdf, as that link is now broken it is here.

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