Investment Upgrade Program and Current Trends
After several years of economic stagnation, Curaçao's economy is finally not only recovering but also undergoing a transformation that offers interesting opportunities to the local and international business community.

Expanding tourism is putting pressure on the present hospitality infrastructure and creating demand for additional investments in accommodations and airlift;
The privatization program initiated by the government in 2001 has brought investments and strategic alliances with U.S., Dutch and Canadian companies, creating additional business opportunities;
Large-scale restoration of monuments and several new initiatives in the field of professional training and cultural events are emphasizing the island's status as a World Heritage site and highlighting the enormous potential as a center for professional education and cultural events
Efforts to modernize economic legislation and policy have so far yielded new economic zone legislation, a new civil code with modern, internationally accepted standards for business, and commitment of the Netherlands Antilles to the Caribbean Rim Investment Initiative, an OECD-supported project aimed at transforming the Dutch Antillean islands with their centuries old tradition for political and legal stability into state of the art economies
The Caribbean Rim Investment Initiative was initiated in 2001 by the OECD (an organization of industrialized countries), during a regional conference in Curaçao. The CRII program comprises a comprehensive diagnosis of the investment climate, and the elaboration of an investment policy reform agenda. Participating countries are elected from so-called emerging economies of the region considered by the OECD to have real potential of reaching first world status within a few years: Costa, Rica, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands Antilles are the first four Caribbean Rim countries elected to participate in the project.
An investor perception survey conducted as part of the CRII diagnostic study has indicated that investors perceive Curaçao as being basically open to foreign investment:

- they seem comfortable with both the political situation and the exchange rate regime guaranteeing convertibility of the US Dollar-pegged Antillean guilder against international currencies,
- they thought the quality of infrastructure was quite good,
- they were also impressed by the high literacy rate (over 90%)

The diagnostic study (called the Business Environment Report) on the Netherlands Antilles will be translated between now and December of this year into a Policy Reform Agenda that will be implemented during 2005, and that should result in a considerably improved economic climate, certainly considering the steps that have already been taken. The policy reform agenda is expected to focus on measures in areas such as:

Market reform (including labor and capital market flexibilization), still considered possible barriers for doing business,
Continuation of the privatization program,

Further public sector reform to modernize the tax regime, modernize the role of government and improve public sector information to private sector stakeholders on policies,

Further articulation of economic potential and policy objectives,
And regional and international benchmarking of the island's performance in order to enhance present policies and raise our international profile.

To access the full report, please contact the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce