Jersey’s finance industry is continuing to build closer commercial ties with the Gulf during a ministerial visit by a Jersey delegation to the region during which a Double Taxation Agreement will be signed with Qatar.

The visit to the UAE and Qatar, led by Senator Sir Philip Bailhache, Assistant Chief Minister with responsibility for external affairs, takes place between March 17 and 21 and will involve meetings with senior government and regulatory officials and leading practitioners in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha and concludes with the signing of the DTA in Doha.

One year on from the opening of the Jersey Finance representative office in Abu Dhabi, this return visit by a Government led delegation symbolises the growing commercial and regulatory links with the region and reinforces the Island’s commitment to doing business in the Gulf.

The visit is part of a growing number of initiatives in 2012 involving Jersey Finance in the region which have included:

– Participation in a high profile visit by the Lord Mayor of the City of London. David Wootton, who led a large business delegation from the UK to various States in the Gulf region in February.

– Completion of an internship programme involving two banking professionals from Qatar who spent time with financial services organisations both in Jersey and the City of London through an arrangement with the Qatar Finance and Business Academy.

– Lead sponsorship alongside Hawksford, a local private wealth specialist, of the forthcoming STEP Arabia Conference on 27th March in Dubai which will focus on estate planning in the Middle East for trust professionals, financial advisers and other intermediaries.

– Involvement in a work shadowing scheme in association with the British Business Group in Abu Dhabi designed to introduce undergraduates at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates to an international business environment at a senior level, as well as a presentation on Jersey as an International Finance Centre to business studies students at Zayed University

– An ongoing series of networking events in Abu Dhabi hosted by the Jersey Finance representatives in the region, which bring together leading practitioners and influential contacts .

Geoff Cook, Chief Executive of Jersey Finance Limited, commented:

“This latest visit in conjunction with the Government, and led by Sir Philip, is an important step forward in building our relationship with the authorities in the region and we very much welcome the Minister’s involvement and the work and negotiations that have been undertaken over many months to arrange for the signing of the DTA with the authorities in Qatar.’

Accompanying Sir Philip on the visit will be Colin Powell, Adviser on External Affairs for the States of Jersey, Geoff Cook and Sean Costello, Jersey Finance’s Chief Representative Officer for the region.

Following meetings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai on the 18th and 19th, the delegation will move on to Doha in Qatar on the 20th where the Double Taxation Agreement will be signed by Jersey’s Minister and by Moftah Jassim Al-Moftah, Director of the Public Revenues & Taxes Department, Ministry of Economy & Finances.

Geoff Cook added:

“This agreement signifies the growing importance of the relationship between Jersey and Qatar and supports Jersey’s objective of signing agreements which allow for appropriate levels of information exchange and transparency, while at the same time protecting important privacy rights for firms and individuals.

The agreement makes it easier and more straightforward to conduct business between Jersey and Qatar and will therefore play an important part in encouraging increasing business flows between the two locations.’

The DTA with Qatar follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed toward the end of last year between the Central Bank of the UAE and the Jersey Financial Services Commission which put in place a formal mechanism to enable the regulatory authorities in the UAE and Jersey to cooperate on supervisory matters and the exchange of information.