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BVI Sets Out Brexit Wishlist

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
20 February, 2017

British Virgin Islands representatives have set out their Brexit priorities at a recent meeting between the UK Government and the Overseas Territories.

At the UK–Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council on European Negotiations, the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Orlando Smith, said freedom of movement, international trade, and EU funding were his territory's key concerns.

Smith stressed the importance of freedom of movement, with holders of passports from the Overseas Territories currently able to move freely throughout the Schengen Area. Smith said the UK had confirmed this concern will be considered in the forthcoming negotiations with the EU on freedom of movement.

Smith discussed with UK ministers the importance of maintaining the British Virgin Islands' and other Overseas Territories' tariff and quota-free trade in goods with the EU. He also raised, as a priority, his territory's access to the EU market for its financial, legal and other professional services. Smith said he had urged the UK to help ensure this access is maintained by supporting his territory's efforts to not be wrongly placed on an EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

Beyond trade with the EU, Smith reiterated his call for a new economic partnership between the UK and the Overseas Territories after Brexit. Smith said the UK is already beginning to explore a number of possible trade agreements, and that the British Virgin Islands can benefit from inclusion in such trade agreements.

On the issue of EU funding, Smith reminded UK ministers that his territory has benefited from its association with the EU, and said the UK Government had assured him that the current round of EU funding on climate change, marine biodiversity, and sustainable energy will be supported through to 2020.

In preparation for follow-up discussions in the UK later this year, Smith said his government will establish a Brexit Task Force tasked with preparing a White Paper on the implications of Brexit for the British Virgin Islands.

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