STATEMENT BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE
DR. THE HONOURABLE D. ORLANDO SMITH, OBE
On the occasion of his UK Visit
“PROGRESSING BVI’S POSITION ON BREXIT”
Friday, 10th February, 2017
Between the courtesy call I made, along with other Overseas Territories Leaders, on Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Theresa May and prior discussions with UK Ministers on Exiting the European Union (EU), I am very encouraged that my Government is making progress in advancing BVI's priorities on Brexit negotiations.
It is a critical time for further dialogue with our UK partners on Brexit’s impact on the Overseas Territories before Article 50 is triggered to begin Britain’s exit from the EU.
My goal is to preserve the core elements of the BVI’s relationship with the EU because of the substantial value we derive from the existing policy agreements on financial services and other important areas.
This includes maintaining market access to the EU.
It is imperative that the UK includes the Overseas Territories in any tariff-free trade arrangement it secures with the EU as international trade is essential to BVI's economic future. In order to ensure the Territory's future sustainability, growth and development, BVI business - whether domestic or international - must maintain the ability to competitively trade goods with as few barriers as possible.
It is my hope that, as we move forward with these negotiations, the UK will also fully support the Overseas Territories to ensure they are not negatively impacted by protectionist measures such as the EU's so-called list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.
Another crucial element of our new relationship with the EU will be freedom of movement for BVI citizens. We are anxious to maintain free movement as it is critical for conducting business as well as enabling our students to access higher education.
We hope to continue our participation in EU programmes that support sustainable development in critical areas like tourism, education and disaster preparedness. This includes projects, such as the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College of the Culinary Arts Centre, construction of the Sage Mountain Visitors Centre and the establishment of an early warning system in the Territory for extreme weather events.
Overall I am pleased by the progress made during this round of ministerial talks on Brexit negotiations and confident that, as BVI officials remain fully involved in the ongoing UK-Overseas Territories discussions in the coming months, our relationship with the UK Government will be strengthened even more and we can look forward to an optimistic post-Brexit future.