The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has told the United Kingdom (UK) that it does not only want to ensure its financial business is not negatively affected by Brexit, but that it also wants to be able to compete in the international trade of goods in areas such as fisheries.
Premier Dr D Orlando Smith disclosed those and other main points after he participated in the initial round of ministerial talks with the UK regarding Brexit, which is the process by which Britain is seeking to exit the European Union (EU).
Amid the push for competitive international trade, Premier Smith called for continued market access, and potential tax incentives.
“The BVI sees international trade as essential to its economic future, particularly in the continued provision of services to international business, but also in goods in areas such as fisheries,” the premier said in a media release from his government.
He continued, “We would like inclusion in any tariff-free trade arrangement the UK secures with the EU and I encourage the UK to secure this option for the territories, so that BVI companies – whether domestic or international – maintain the ability to trade in goods competitively with the EU with as few barriers as possible.”
Concerned about protectionist measures
Premier Smith, in that same breath, emphasized the importance of the UK supporting its territories to ensure they are not negatively impacted by protectionist measures, such as EU blacklisting that would impede BVI access to the EU market.
He wants the BVI to also continue to benefit from EU funding, adding that the value of such funds is important to the sustainable development of the BVI.
“In the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) programming process, the EU has recognized – to some degree – their responsibility to support BVI and others that are among the most affected by the negative impacts of climate change that places our economy at risk.”
“…We want the UK government to commit to maintaining its contribution to the 11th EDF through 2020 to permit the BVI and other Caribbean territories to complete the programming process,” the premier said.
He also emphasized that freedom of movement in the EU for BVI citizens is of the utmost importance. According to him, that freedom is critical for – among other things – business and higher education.
Who attended the meeting
Meanwhile, Premier Smith stated that the just-concluded Joint Ministerial Council Meeting held in the UK to mainly discuss Brexit involved UK ministers, as well as leaders of other UK Overseas Territories.
“I am pleased by the outcome of our initial round of ministerial talks on Brexit negotiations in which we set out Overseas Territories priorities, and agreed in principle to hold two additional Ministerial meetings this year. BVI officials will be fully involved in the ongoing UK-Overseas Territories technical discussions on Brexit with the UK Government in the months ahead,” Premier Smith said.
UK Ministers who participated in the meeting included Minister for Exiting the EU Robin Walker, Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Baroness Analey, Minister of State for Department of Trade Lord Price, and Minister of State for International Development Lord Bates.
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