Nassau, The Bahamas, July 29th, 2020— On Monday 27 July, the Government of The Bahamas and the British High Commission Nassau met to discuss increasing trade between the UK and The Bahamas, primarily through the domestic ratification of the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), signed in London in 2019. The meeting was hosted by the Hon. Elsworth Johnson, Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration; Hon. Carl Bethel, Attorney-General; Ms. Deborah Watson, Director of Financial Services; and the newly appointed Director of Trade Brickell Pinder and Her Excellency Sarah Dickson, British High Commissioner accompanied by Ms. Jerusa Ali, Political Attaché. The Economic Partnership Agreement will safeguard business access to Bahamian and UK markets as Britain exits the European Union (EU) at the end of this year.
The agreement contains the same tariff and services commitments that were negotiated initially in the CARIFORUM-EU Agreement to which The Bahamas and UK were parties. The CARIFORUM-UK EPA commits the UK to provide immediate duty-free, quota-free access to the UK market for Bahamian exporters. According to Her Majestyʼs Revenue and Customs Department, trade between The Bahamas and the UK amounted to £370m in 2017. In 2018, Bahamian exports to the UK were valued at $8.7m, making the UK the fourth largest market for Bahamian exports, according to The Bahamas Department of Statistics.High Commissioner Dickson welcomed the talks as a further step towards stronger economic ties. “It was excellent to be able to discuss the trade relationship between the UK and The Bahamas. Both countries private sectors will need a strong government focus to support business in these unprecedented times.
I know the partnership agreement is one step towards increased bilateral trade.” The Government of The Bahamas is seeking to complete the domestic ratification of the CARIFORUM-UK EPA by December 2020. In the coming weeks, the Government of The Bahamas and the UKʼs regional trade team will engage in in-depth technical discussions. Bahamian business owners can then expect a series of virtual events to gather input to inform EPA domestic ratification process. “Facing the global pandemic, the accompanying economic crisis, and the ongoing climate crisis, the Government is looking to strengthen the trading relationship between The Bahamas and the UK,” said Elsworth Johnson. “To help drive and expand this trade agenda, we have brought on a new Director of Trade. With her focus on stakeholder engagement and the inclusion of new sectors like the conceptual and creative economies, the ratification of this EPA will result in new opportunities for Bahamian businesses.” The CARIFORUM-UK EPA was signed in London in 2019, by Ellison E. Greenslade, QPM, High Commissioner for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, on behalf of the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.