Burt to lead team of three to Davos
Opportunities in Bermuda will be promoted to global business leaders in Europe next week.
David Burt, the Premier, will lead a team of three to Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.
He said he was the only head of an Overseas Territory to have been invited to the event.
Mr Burt said the turmoil in Europe and the United Kingdom over its decision to leave the European Union meant it was “important that Bermuda take an active role in promoting our economy overseas and reminding global business leaders why Bermuda is different”.
The Premier will take part in meetings and discussions on subjects including technology, education and the environment.
He will be joined by Andy Burrows, the chief executive of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, and Denis Pitcher, the Government’s new fintech consultant.
Mr Burt explained: “We will be using this excellent opportunity to advance this government’s agenda for growth and economic diversification while we continue to promote Bermuda as a leading jurisdiction for international companies.
“We will also use the platform to meet global companies that have Bermuda entities but currently no physical presence, to discuss our approach to economic substance and why Bermuda will be the right choice for multinational corporations to establish physical operations to meet the new global requirements.”
Parliament passed legislation at the end of last year to meet EU demands on economic substance.
Bermuda was one of more than 40 jurisdictions which promised to introduce laws to tackle international concern about tax avoidance by multinational companies.
Mr Burt said the island was an attractive option compared with other Overseas Territories affected by similar demands.
He explained: “One of the things which I say overseas is that there is a reason why, in Bermuda, we have more people than we do have companies.
“That is because we have a history of substance and not everyone can get into Bermuda.
“I think that is an excellent differentiating factor for companies that are looking to adjust their global operations after these new rules have come in.”
Mr Burt added: “As the rules change, we have to be prepared to make sure that we can take advantage of those rule changes to benefit Bermudians.
“One of the things we’ve always spoken about is the need to grow the economy, the need to diversify the economy.
“This presents an opportunity and we have been working on a strategy for the last few months on how we’re going to exploit this opportunity. We’re going to take our message on the road.”
The Davos meeting runs from Tuesday until Friday and Mr Burt said the team would also provide information about foreign investment opportunities on the island, including in hospitality and tourism.
He added: “The way the world does business is changing and Bermuda cannot afford to be on the sidelines.
“We are a well-respected financial centre and have a well-educated and eager working population, able and ready to be retrained and retooled for the jobs that can and will be moved to Bermuda.”
Mr Burt claimed the Government was making “steady progress”.
He added: “We have an imperative to deliver economic growth and increased opportunities for Bermudians.”
Mr Burt said: “We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past where economic successes left Bermudians a distant second.
“Our people have rightly demanded a seat at the table and in every meeting, on every panel, the emphasis will be on the creation of jobs in this economy and providing opportunities to Bermudians first.”