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There is something of a competition between a number of offshore jurisdictions to offer the most advanced e-commerce environment to businesses seeking an offshore base for part or all of their operations. Gibraltar would claim to be one of the preferred jurisdictions in this competition.

Can Gibraltar become a major player in the expanding and lucrative world of E-commerce and an effective hub of such activity for the European Union?

In April, 2004, the government established a new E-Business Advisory Council, whose membership consisted of government officials, including the government’s head of IT, John Desoiza and the chief executive of the Ministry for Trade, Industry and Telecommunications, Richard Garcia. Two members of the panel were drawn from the private sector and were nominated by the Gibraltar Federation of Small Business and the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce, although they serve on the council in their personal capacities.

Gibraltar has set itself an ambitious goal, since the world, both onshore and offshore, is full of countries which have said they mean to become global e-commerce leaders.

Gibraltar's advantages are her position in the EU, both geographically and structurally, an established base of professionals, good telecommunications and excellent port facilities. If only the problems with Spain could be fully resolved, Gibraltar could function as a tax-efficient e-commerce gateway to Spain and the rest of the EU beyond for physical goods as well as digital ones. As things are, Gibraltar has to give preference to digital products, including financial services, in which the competition is strongest.

Some of the basic infrastructure is already in place. Despite Spain's efforts to baulk progress and her reluctance to comply with EU obligations in this field, Gibraltar has a relatively efficient telecoms network and the capability to expand this. Meanwhile, telecoms liberalisation is reducing the current high costs of the services, making these more competitive.

As previously mentioned, geographically Gibraltar is well-placed both as a stepping stone into Europe and at a crossroads of the world's communications network - though such advantages are probably more psychological than practical.

In theory at least, cyberspace knows no boundaries and the global nature of E-commerce allows it to be conducted anywhere.

Another "plus" is the solid international reputation as an off-shore financial centre which the Rock enjoys. Its company and banking legislation and regulatory practices are comparable to those of Britain and provide an important confidence-builder for companies considering Gibraltar as a potential home - whether for E-com or any other form of business.

By locating websites in Gibraltar to carry out functions previously based in high-tax jurisdictions such as sales and marketing, treasury management, supply of financial services, and most of all, the supply of digital goods such as music, video, training, software etc, businesses can often take advantage of low rates of taxation for increasingly substantial parts of their operation.

A case in point is the betting and gambling sector: In 2000 and 2001 Gibraltar attracted many of the book-makers who fled the UK's high-tax regime in order to set up telephone betting service centres offshore. Many of them also offer Internet products, either as a direct replacement for over-the-counter or telephone betting on racing, or simply as pure gambling products: electronic fruit machines and other casino games. Telephone betting is labour intensive, electronic betting less so, but there was still a major boost for employment in the territory. During 2002 the offshore betting and gaming sector lost momentum, but in 2003 Gibraltar appeared to be an increasingly popular choice again for online gambling firms.

In May, 2004, Gibraltar showed that its e-commerce prowess wasn't just limited to betting, when leading London-based independent trading firm Mac Futures significantly expanded its presence in the jurisdiction of Gibraltar with the opening of a new 100-desk trading facility by Chief Minister Peter Caruana.

In May, 2005, PartyGaming Plc, the Gibraltar-based e-gaming firm which owns the largest multi-player poker room on the internet, announced a healthy financial performance prior to its flotation on the London Stock Exchange. PartyGaming saw unaudited revenues of $602 million in 2004, deriving a profit before share option expenses of $391 million.

THE LEGISLATION

  • The EU Directive on a Legal Framework for E-commerce
  • The EU Regulatory Framework for Electonic Communications
  • Local Legislation

THE FACILITIES

  • Hosting and ISP facilities
  • Banking and Payment Processing facilities

TAX-EFFICIENT E-COMMERCE

  • Planning the Tax Structure
  • What to locate in Gibraltar
  • Offshore options for E-businesspeople
HONG KONG
- E-commerce in the Hong Kong
- The Legislation
- The Facilities
- Tax-efficient E-commerce
ISLE OF MAN
- E-commerce in the Isle of Man
- The Legislation
- The Facilities
- Tax-efficient E-commerce
GIBRALTAR
- E-commerce in Gibraltar
- The legislation
- The facilities
- Tax-efficient E-commerce
OTHER OFFSHORE E-COMMERCE JURISDICTIONS

- Andorra
- Aruba
- Bahamas
- Barbados
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Cook Islands
- Costa Rica
- Cyprus
- Guernsey
- Ireland
- Jersey
- Liechtenstein
- Luxembourg
- Madeira
- Malta
- Mauritius
- Monaco
- Netherlands Antilles
- Panama
- Seychelles
- Switzerland
- Turks & Caicos Islands
- Vanuatu


 

STRATEGIC PARTNERS
  Lowtax.net
  Tax-News.com
  Expat Briefing
  LawAndTax-News.com
  OffshoreTrustsGuide.com
  TreatyPro.com
  Global Incorpoation Guide [GIG]

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