UK recommits to economic partnership with Bahamas
The United Kingdom’s most recent increase in trade with The Bahamas is part of the nation’s continued effort to support its economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with CARIFORUM states.
According to the report “Continuing the United Kingdom’s trade relationship with the CARIFORUM States”, recently released by the UK’s Department for International Trade, the value of trade to CARIFORUM states – which include The Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados – was 2.5 billion pounds.
The report followed the United Kingdom government’s Trade Bill 2018-19, in which it committed to delivering continuity in the UK’s trade relationship with CARIFORUM states.
“As the UK leaves the EU, the government has sought to deliver the maximum possible certainty to businesses and consumers through ensuring continuity in the UK’s existing trade relationships. It is in no one’s interests to disrupt existing trade flows,” the report states.
“To achieve this, the government has developed new bilateral agreements that replicate, as far as possible, the effects of the government’s existing trade agreements with existing partners. The agreements provide for entry into force when the existing agreements between the EU and third countries ceases to apply to the UK, whether the UK leaves the EU with no agreement or with an agreement in place on
transitional arrangements. In either event, the new bilateral agreements will form the starting points for the UK’s future trade agreements with partners.”
Trade between The Bahamas and the United Kingdom increased by 138 percent in 2018, growing from $21.2 million in 2017 to $50.6 million in 2018, according to the Department of Statistics’ 2018 Annual Foreign Trade Statistics Report.
Not being able to ratify the CARIFORUM-UK EPA would result in UK businesses losing the preferences negotiated in the existing EPA, according to the UK’s Department for International Trade.
“This would include the reimposition of many tariffs, returning to most favored nation (MFN) treatment with the region. The benefits derived from trading under preferences within the existing EPA, such as increases in trade flows, may then be reversed,” the report states.
“It is unlikely that the entire effect of the existing agreement achieved so far would disappear. Many tariffs would revert to MFN rates, discussed in further detail below, but it could take longer for some of the other benefits to be lost. Some gains might endure even in the long run. For example, the UK might still benefit from any regulatory arrangements agreed because of the existing EPA. Business connections formed because of the existing EPA might endure.”