Credibility and stability distinguishes Madeira




Roy Garibaldi, member of the board of Sociedade de Desenvolvimento da Madeira S.A. (SDM), the company that has the concession to manage the International Business Centre of Madeira (IBC), explains how the island is growing into an important Atlantic business destination and how the International Shipping Register of Madeira (MAR), with more than 500 vessels registered, is reinforcing its Technical Commission as part of its decisive role in attracting more vessels to the Register


Euromar (EU): Madeira has long been recognised around the world as a tourist destination of excellence. It is also increasingly being perceived as a place for business. What are the main characteristics and driving forces that are transforming Madeira into such an important business centre? 


Roy Garibaldi (RG): Madeira has earned global status as a credible location for business through the existence of its International Business Centre and the preferential tax regime approved by the European Union as a valid form of State aid to diversify and modernise the island's economy and reduce its dependence on tourism. The fully transparent tax regime, which meets all OECD standards and is regulated entirely under Portuguese law, offers international companies and investors the means to develop commercial, industrial and shipping activities within a credible jurisdiction and, among other benefits, a corporate tax rate of 5%, one of the lowest in the European Union. 


EU: What does the International Business Centre of Madeira offer that sets it apart from its European competitors? 


RG: The main factors which distinguish Madeira from other low-tax jurisdictions are its credibility and stability. Its credibility is based on EU approval, the fact that it has never been classified as an "offshore" jurisdiction or as a "tax haven" and that it complies with all EU regulations that guarantee transparency and adequate regulation. Its stability is due to the fact that its tax regime is to remain in force until at least the end of 2027. Therefore, any company or investor wishing to do business in a stable and credible location should take a close look at Madeira. 


EU: MAR has revealed an enormous capacity for growth and the process of affirmation. In what way is it contributing to Madeira’s growth as an international business centre? 


RG: The International Shipping Register of Madeira (MAR) is one of the key elements of the International Business Centre and one which has witnessed significant growth in the last four years. The Register and its attraction to international shipping companies play an important role in the International Business Centre’s contribution to the local economy through the generation of tax revenue and by creating employment and developing various other related services. The Centre is responsible for more than 20% of the total tax revenue collected by the Regional Government of Madeira. 


EU: Is there the capacity available to persuade shipowners to move their operations to Madeira and take advantage of the combined activities of both the IBC and MAR? 


RG: We currently have more than 500 vessels registered and over 160 shipping companies licensed to do business within the International Business Centre. Having said this, there is undoubtedly the capacity to attract a greater number of vessels and more companies to the island. Madeira has the necessary infrastructure and human resources to handle any such new investment. And with specific reference to MAR, staffing levels in the Register's Technical Commission are in the process of being reinforced in order to support the demands of the growing fleet.