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Marshall Islands

Capital: Majuro
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Population: 57,000 (est. 2003)
Languages: English/Marshallese (official), Japanese
Area: 181 sq. km (land area)
Currency: United States dollar (USD)
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September
Independence status: 21/10/1986 (from US Admin. UN Trustee)

BACKGROUND
REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS ("RMI") is a nation of more than 50,000 living on 29 coral atolls and 5 small low-lying islands in the central Pacific, mid-way between Hawaii and Australia. The RMI adopted its constitution in 1979, and signed the Compact of Free Association with the United States in 1986. The Marshall Islands became a member of the United Nations in 1991. The natural beauty and rich culture of the Marshall Islands attracts tourists from around the world. Pristine coral reefs teeming with marine life make the Marshalls a premiere dive destination. Most Marshallese are Protestants, and as a whole they are very religious. While the largest church in the nation is the United Church of Christ, there are many other Protestant denominations represented, like Assembly of God, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventists. The Catholic Church also has established a strong presence in the islands.

Legal System
Marshall Islands' legal system is based on adapted Trust Territory laws, acts of the legislature, municipal, common, and customary laws. As stated in the Compact of Free Association, national defense is primarily the responsibility of the United States. Executive power rests with the president and the cabinet. The president is both head of state and head of government, elected by parliament for a four-year term. The president appoints the cabinet from members of the Nitijela (parliament).

Currency
The currency used in the Islands is United States dollar (USD).

Confidentiality
Under Marshall Islands law, there is no requirement that the names of corporate officers, directors or shareholders be filed in any public registry. Such information, therefore, remains confidential.
NO annual return is required to be filed. Bearer share is allowed, but most clients use nominee shareholder approach instead.

Taxation
Non-resident domestic corporations are "statutorily" exempt from Marshall Islands taxes.

Legislations
The country is a beneficiary of various trade agreements which allow preferential access to major markets for its exports. The Compact of Free Association gives access to US markets as does the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) which covers markets in Canada, Japan and non-western European countries. The South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA) provides access to the markets of Australia and New Zealand. Currently, the Marshall Islands is not a party to any international agreements/codes regarding foreign investment, although there are plans to become party to some. As note above, the Marshall Islands is party to various preferential trade agreements with a number of countries.


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