As the deadline approaches on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, Bermuda’s stakeholders and the Government, will be watching to see whether Bermuda’s annual $30 billion two-way trade with EU will be impacted.
Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson noted in his Budget Statement on Friday, that “the legal basis for the relationship between the Overseas Territories and the EU is set out under Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union”.
“Accordingly, Bermuda benefits from special arrangements with the EU including most favorable treatment in relation to measures affecting trade in services and other trade related matters,” said the Minister.
“While most of Bermuda’s trade in goods and services is with the US, the EU exports a sizeable amount of goods and services annually to Bermuda.
“Annual two-way trade is normally $30 billion. Given that the Withdrawal Agreement primarily provides for an orderly exit from the
EU, there should be limited direct impact on Bermuda if an agreement can be reached prior to 29th March, 2019.”
In the interim, he said the Government “has been working with the UK Government to ensure that issues related to Bermuda are considered”.
But he said: “To the extent that the UK acts to defend Bermuda’s interests in the EU, particularly in relation to financial services regulation and tax policy, Bermuda may find it more difficult to make its case in Brussels.”
Other concerns include Brexit’s potential impact on the the freedom of movement of Bermudians within the EU.
A UK exit from the EU would remove this benefit and others, as the main EU Treaty provision relevant to the free
movement of people will no longer apply.
The matter has come up for discussion with the UK Home
Office’s director for EU exit immigration policy.
The Minister is due to hold a post-Budget news conference with the Premier at the Cabinet Building on Monday.
Britain’s Overseas Territories:
- British Antarctic Territory
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Pitcairn Islands
- St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
- Turks and Caicos Islands