The Special Economic Zones Law, 2011 (the "SEZ Law") was brought into force in the Cayman Islands on 21 November 2011. The SEZ Law provides for the creation and operation of Special Economic Zones, such as the currently established Cayman Enterprise City which, when completed, will offer a unique cluster of business parks for specific knowledge based industries. The SEZ Law also provides for the establishment of a Special Economic Zone Authority whose statutory functions include, but are not limited to, the implementation of relevant policies and programs, the examination and processing of applications from prospective Special Economic Zone businesses, the maintenance of current data on the performance of businesses within the Special Economic Zones ("SEZ") and the enforcement of compliance with all related requirements and procedures.
Setting up process
Applicants wishing to conduct business within Cayman Enterprise City must first engage the services of a local law firm or other corporate services provider in order to set up a Cayman Islands Exempt Special Economic Zone Company ("SEZ Company") or to convert an existing exempt company into an SEZ Company. The incorporation process for an SEZ Company is similar to that of an exempt company. The SEZ Company will have a set of Memorandum & Articles of Association which are tailored to suit the needs of an SEZ Company. The firm or corporate services provider must obtain a letter from Cayman Enterprise City inviting the company into the SEZ and this letter is provided to the Registrar of Companies when the application for the incorporation of the company is made. Once the SEZ Company is incorporated, the staff at Cayman Enterprise City will prepare and submit an application to the SEZ Authority for a Zone Trade Certificate which, if granted, will enable the SEZ Company to be registered and begin conducting business within the zone.
An SEZ, though established in the Cayman Islands, is deemed to be outside the Cayman Islands for the purposes of the SEZ Law, the Companies Law (2010 Revision) and the Exempted Limited Partnerships Law (2010 Revision) which each expressly prohibit exempt companies from carrying on business within the Cayman Islands. While SEZ Companies may not carry on business locally, they may, and are encouraged to contract with local companies for the provision of services to the SEZ Company, which are considered ancillary to or for the furtherance of the business in the SEZ.
Cayman Enterprise City boasts a fast and efficient set up process and guarantees unique concessions and benefits which make setting up within the zone extremely attractive. Those concessions and benefits include exemptions from tax, import duties and other duties for 50 years from the commencement of the SEZ Law, guaranteed twelve-day, fast-track set up of operations, proven protection of intellectual property, 100% foreign ownership permitted, a 5 year Zone Employment Certificate granted in respect of each employee of an SEZ Company, easy access to North and Latin American markets with the added bonuses of on island living and access to a number of local amenities for employees.
Construction of the state of the art campus in Grand Cayman is set to begin this fall to be completed within 24 months. In the interim, Cayman Enterprise City currently offers its tenants fitted out spaces in several buildings throughout the capital, George Town.
Once completed, Cayman Enterprise City will encompass 6 business parks. The first park, Cayman Internet & Technology Park, will be an information and communications technology sector with facilities such as a global, on-demand data centre and comprehensive hosting facilities enabling activities such as internet and e-commerce, telecommunications and networking and IT services The second park, Cayman Media Park, will include a media production zone with boutique sound stage and studio along with production facilities for film, TV and other content. The third park, Cayman Biotechnology Park, will serve as a life science sector focusing on servicing the needs of pharmaceutical companies, companies specialising in biomedical devices, biotechnology, cosmesis, enzymes and research organization. This park will offer facilities including offices, laboratory space and research and development. The fourth park, Cayman Commodities & Derivatives Park, is set to become the first Special Economic Zone multi-commodities and derivatives centre in the Americas' time zone. Facilities include a fully electronic trading platform with associated member exchange services, including full clearing and settlement facilities. The fifth park, Cayman Outsource Park, will enable companies, in the region and worldwide, to set up head-office and management operations including service and call centres, management consulting, financial and operations activities, engineering and manufacturing and research and development within the zone. The sixth park, Cayman International Academic Park, will be dedicated to higher education focusing on developing the region's talent and establishing Cayman as a knowledge-based economy. Facilities will include university and online university courses, management development centres, education service providers, academic and student support services and specialized vocational educators.
Cayman Enterprise City Product Sets
Cayman Enterprise City boasts turn-key packages tailored to suit the individual needs of any SEZ Company. Prices vary depending on the package selected. The FlexiPresence package provides for one person to operate the business from an individual desk or workstation designed to be available only when needed, and with shared business centre facilities. The DedicatedPresence package provides for a single dedicated desk or workstation which is permanently available, and with shared business centre facilities. The OfficePresence package provides for a dedicated fully equipped office and permits for 2, 3 or 8 staff that will be permanently available, and shared use of business centre facilities. The BusinessPresence package is completely customized according to the specific needs of the SEZ Company.
The SEZ Law allows for the creation and operation of cost-effective, flexible and innovative alternatives to conducting business from the Cayman Islands and Cayman Enterprise City is a practical example of those alternatives.
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