Yesterday, the Hon. T. Brent Symonette, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, joined Spanish Ambassador H.E. Jesus Silva Fernandez, in signing an [Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters]( on behalf of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and Spain, respectively.

Minister Symonette said, *“The execution of this Agreement with the Kingdom of Spain further expands the tax cooperation network the Government of The Bahamas put in place to implement the internationally accepted standards in respect of transparency and effective information exchange in tax matters.”*

The Bahamas Spain TIEA brings the total number of tax information exchange agreements concluded by the Government of The Bahamas to nineteen, thirteen of which are with members of the OECD.

At the signing ceremony, the Deputy Prime Minister also noted that it is the Government’s view that the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is now better placed as an International Financial Centre to benefit from new opportunities in the changing international regulatory environment. He took the opportunity to extend appreciation to the Ambassador for the direct role he personally played in the process which had led to executing the Agreement. Likewise, he said, *“We would also like to say thank you to the Spanish negotiators, for the collaborative and cooperative spirit in which the negotiations were conducted. This Agreement with Spain further strengthens the longstanding relations and friendship which exist between our two countries and provides for an enhanced framework for economic cooperation between us.”*

Ambassador Silva Fernandez also spoke to the negotiating process and paid tribute to The Bahamas for “seriously negotiating” with major nations, and also for going beyond the number of such treaties required under the G20 standard. *(See [BFSB]( and [OECD]( Statements issued on March 10).* He said, *”Unlike other cases, I must say The Bahamas has done a serious job of negotiation, both from the technical aspects of the agreements and their content, but also by signing with countries that have a certain weight in terms of financial transactions and in the financial world – countries which are opinion makers.”* He contended that this process meant The Bahamas took a bit longer to finish its targeted list, but felt this resulted in gaining the nation credibility in the financial and international world – what he referenced as a smart and intelligent move. *”I think this exercise has convinced others of the commitment of The Bahamas to integrating within the global forum and I think it has made you gain credibility.”*

Specifically with regard to overall relations with Spain, the Ambassador noted, *”We have gained a good knowledge of each other, we have learnt on both sides, especially in the financial world, and better cooperation between governments is good in all aspects.”* Minister Symonette likewise confirmed that The Bahamas looks forward to continuing to strengthen its relationship with Spain.