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Poudre d’Or PORT LOUIS


Indeed, if Mauritius wishes to keep gaining ground on the rest of the offshore pack, it may have other hurdles to leap. The Indian tax authorities have been keen to clamp down on canny overseas operators, and has spent the past five years trying to claw back tax from Vodafone for its offshore purchase of the Indian assets of Hutchison Whampoa in 2007 [see left]. The Indian courts ruled in Vodafone’s favour in January this year, but India is still in the process of creating its Direct Tax Code. With the government desperate to shore up its ailing coffers, offshore tax treaties may not stay so sweet for long. But though Mauritius’s privileged tax


position is now under scrutiny, Mark Dunlop reckons it’s simply too important to dispose of entirely. “India wants to limit its tax leakage, but it needs to maintain favourable conditions to attract inward investment. Yes, the treaty will need to be adjusted, but this could just involve tinkering, not a fundamental renegotiation.” So where does all this leave the Channel Islands? Is there cause to fear Mauritius as


another challenger in the world of offshore finance? Not necessarily. Yes everyone’s a competitor to a point, with some overlap of product. But the fact is each has worked hard to carve a different niche. While Mauritius may be mopping up business around the Indian Ocean – South East Asia, India and Africa – the Channel Islands can continue doing the same in the Atlantic, serving the UK, EU and US. Instead of looking too hard at what


Mauritius is up to, the Channel Islands can be confident that they too offer things that other rivals don’t. Its trusts and wealth management experience are second to none. “Do we in the Channel Islands feel threatened?” asks Cheong. “Not at all. The Channel Islands will continue to be favoured by most established investors and institutions. The solutions we offer in the Channel Islands aren’t easily replicated in Mauritius.” Unlike the dodo and the settlers, the arrival


of one needn’t cause the demise of the other. n DAVE WALLER is a freelance business writer


Pamplemeusses


Rose Hill Mahebourg Souillac Fact file: Mauritius


Area: 787 square miles Population: 1,286,340 (est) Capital: Port Louis Official Language: English


Status: Having been made independent from the UK in 1968, it became a republic in 1992


Religion: Hindus comprise the largest group (52 per cent) Currency: Mauritian rupee


Famous Mauritians: Bruno Jolie was the first Mauritian to win an Olympic medal – a bronze in boxing at Beijing in 2008


Business Solutions to give your organisation the edge


Our specialist teams at C5 Alliance give you access to the most experienced, skilled and qualified IT consultants in the Channel Islands.


We deliver advanced business solutions to financial institutions, legal firms and governments based offshore; ranging from worldwide system migrations to the design and continued development of Internet banking applications.


Feel free to contact us should you require support with any of the following challenges:


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