The Caribbean islands have a distinct place in world history and culture that belies their small physical size. During the conquest of the Americas starting in the 17th century, the islands took center stage in the numerous naval campaigns between the European nations attempting to establish bases that would provide access to untold wealth in distant lands to the west. With the development of sugar and other tropical crops on the islands in the 18th and 19th centuries, the plantations themselves were treasured for the vast profits they generated.
Tax concessions—defined as preferential tax treatment for certain types of firms or entities—are commonplace in developed as well as developing countries. Concessions are granted to promote investment, in which case they may be termed tax incentives or investment incentives, or to achieve defined social objectives. For example, corporate income tax (CIT) holidays for five to 10 years may be granted to firms that export goods and services or that locate in designated areas or regions. Exemptions from import-related duties and taxes may also be given, which may be on capital imports to promote investment or on a wide range of other imported goods for statutory or civic bodies or nonprofit organizations.