Emphasizing the economic stability of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Commissioner for Commerce Amadeo I.D. Francis recently unveiled here the islands' new campaign to attract light industry and new capital investment.
"In the U.S. Virgin Islands, we have developed a package of incentives which, I believe, compare with or top those available anywhere," said Francis, adding that the islands "look forward to a stepped-up industrialization program which will provide us with a wider economic base designed to account for 15 percent of the islands' total employment by the year 2000."
Among the industrial incentives now being offered are 90 percent tax-free subsidies of corporate income taxes, customs duties and other taxes, and 100 percent exemptions from property and gross-receipts taxes and from excise taxes on building materials and construction.
To qualify for the economic incentives, an individual or corporation must invest at least $50,000, not counting inventory, in an eligible business. Eligible businesses include, among others, manufacturers engaged in assembly (such as watches or medical equipment), processing of raw materials or products and manufacturing. Agriculture, transportation, utilities, hotels and certain recreational facilities are also eligible. The business must provide fulltime employment for at least 10 residents of the Virgin Islands.
Amerada Hess, Martin Marietta, Timex, Bulova and Waltham, among others, have already established operations under various incentive plans.
Recent agreements by international lending and financial institutions : World Bank
Two loans totalling $89 million to support two agriculture projects in Brazil. The first loan, of $60 million, will assist the expansion of the agricultural research programs, particularly in the northeast, north and center-west regions. The second loan, of $29 million, will help finance a rural development project in Piaui, one of the poorest states in the northeast.
The agricultural research project is expected to increase the capacity of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corp. to expand several current research programs and to support other major new programs. The Piaui rural development project aims at expanding farm and fishery production and increasing incomes and employment opportunities of about 11,300 poor families in rural and coastal areas.
A credit of 16.2 million in special drawing rights ($19.3 million) from the International Development Association, a World Bank affiliate, to Burundi for a rural development project. The project is designed to improve coffee and food crop production in six communes of the densely populated provinces of Gitega and Muramvya in central Burundi.
An IDA credit of 5.7 million in special drawing rights ($6.9 million) to Egypt to support a technical assistance project. The $9.4 million project will provide the services of consulting firms for assisting project preparation units being established within the Ministries of Irrigation and Land Reclamation. The project is designed to strengthen these units and to train their staffs.
A $7.5 million loan to Jamaica for a project to promote the exploration of the country's hydrocarbon potential. The $8.4 million project is designed to help provide the technical and financial means to enable the Petroleum Corp. of Jamaica to play a major role in the comprehensive evaluation of the country's offshore oil reserves.
An IDA credit of 16.3 million ($20 million) to Madagascar for a second forestry project. The project will continue to a forestation program begun under the first project and will assist the government's efforts to establish a forest industry complex in the Mangoro Valley.
A $37 million loan to Malaysia for a project to help one of the country's federal land development agencies to carry out its small-holder land improvement schemes. The $139.1 million project will finance the rehabilitation and "fringe" schemes of the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority. The loan will help finance the development of about 64,000 acres of rubber and 20,000 acres of oil palm. About 112 miles of all-weather access roads will be built and two palm oil mills will be constructed.
An IDA credit of 33.4 million in special drawing rights ($41 million) to Pakistan for a project to increase the supply and efficient use of irrigation water in the country's four provinces. The $111.6 million project is designed to improve agricultural production and raise the income of about 800,000 families by renovating and cleaning water courses, introducing improved water management practices and increasing the efficiency of the government agencies concerned with irrigation. Inter-American Development Bank
A $55 million loan to help the State of Goias in Brazil carry out a feeder road construction program, which involves paving 1,000 kilometers of roads. The program will help expand the state's job potential, reduce the costs of passenger and freight transportation and increase the access of small producers to markets and social services through the provision of all-weather transportation routes.
An $8 million loan to help finance a regional forestry development program in the Atlantic zone of Nicaragua. The bank also approved a $1.12 million technical cooperation grant to help strengthen the Instituto Nicaraguense de Recursos Naturales y del Ambiente, the government agency charged with the development of the country's natural and environmental resources. The loan will be used to help generate employment and income in the isolated, underdeveloped and heavily forested Atlantic zone by carrying out the second stage of a regional development program on about 300,000 hectares of land located between the Coco River in the north and the Matagalpa River in the south. Export-Import Bank
A $6 million loan to Statia Terminals N.V. of the Netherland Antilles to construct and operate a new oil terminal with $14.3 million in U.S. goods and services. The terminal, located close to large oil-tanker shipping lanes in the Caribbean in the Leeward Islands, will provide berthing facilities for large and small carriers, blend different grades of oil, consolidate and transship cargo and fuel marine vessels.
A $24.8 million loan to the Ministry of Finance of Trinidad and Tobago to assist in the purchase of two Lockheed L1011-500 aircraft to be used by British West Indian Airways.