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Netherlands Antilles: Development of Islamic Finance Being Studied

(Oct. 10, 2008) The Government of the Netherlands Antilles is reviewing a report, submitted to it by public sector financial services and tax advisors, on the feasibility of developing Islamic financial services in the islands. According to an article on this move, such a system refers to financial activity consistent with Islamic law (Sharia), particularly with the principles that no interest can be earned on transactions and investing must be socially responsible. (Ulrika Lomas, Islamic Finance Being Scrutinised in Netherlands Antilles, TAX-NEWS.COM, July 28, 2008, available at

Although the report, entitled The Netherlands Antilles: A New Mecca for Islamic Financing?, indicates that there are certain immediate steps the Government can take to accommodate Islamic principles of finance, it also makes clear that the country needs fundamental legal and regulatory changes to allow for adaptations to that system. State Secretary of Finance Alex Rosaria, commenting on the reason behind the study, stated, “[i]f we are serious about being in the top-ten international financial centers of the world, we can not, not be involved with Islamic financing.” He mentioned, moreover, that the Government is currently negotiating a double taxation treaty with the United Arab Emirates, an important player in the field of Islamic finance. (Id.)