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Overseas Territories Set Out Post-Brexit Priorities

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

The Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Orlando Smith, joined leaders of the other United Kingdom Overseas Territories in a meeting with UK Ministers to discuss the implications of Brexit.

The discussions, held at the first meeting of the "United Kingdom Overseas Territories' Joint Ministerial Council on European Union Negotiations," highlighted three priorities for the territories: freedom of movement, international free trade, and European Union funding.

On trade, Smith said: "The British Virgin Islands 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."

"Undoubtedly 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 British Virgin Islands companies, whether domestic or international, maintain the ability to trade in goods competitively with the EU with as few barriers as possible."

Smith emphasized the importance of the UK supporting the Overseas Territories to ensure they are not negatively impacted by protectionist measures such as EU blacklisting, which would impede access to the EU market.

He highlighted the value of EU funding to the sustainable development of the British Virgin Islands, and asked the UK Government to commit to maintaining its funding.

Smith also raised the issue of freedom of movement in the EU for British Virgin Islands citizens as of the utmost importance and critical for business.

Following the meeting, Smith said: "I am pleased by the outcome of our initial round of ministerial talks on Brexit negotiations in which we set out the Overseas Territories priorities and agreed in principle to hold two additional Ministerial meetings this year. British Virgin Islands' officials will be fully involved in the ongoing UK-Overseas Territories technical discussions on Brexit with the UK Government in the months ahead."

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