Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 6/9/2016
  • Stable Democratic Government: The Bahamas maintains a stable environment for investment and offers potential investors a peaceful and stable democratic environment with a strong commitment to the rule of law.  

  • Tax Relief: The country offers relief from taxes on personal income, inheritance, capital gains, corporate income and other taxes related to dividends and interest.  

  • Tourism, Financial Services Are Economic Drivers. The tourism industry, which makes up between 75% and 80% of the economy is expected to grow marginally in 2016-2017, due primarily to the stronger U.S. economy and new FDI in the sector.  Financial services constitute the second most important sector of the economy, accounting for up to 15-20% of GDP. The sector includes 250 bank and trust companies with a combined balance sheet of more than $300M and $1 trillion in assets under management. 

  • The country also exports niche commodities such as polystyrene, chemicals, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, and industrial salt.  Economic growth in 2015 was reported in several industries including wholesale and retail, real estate and related services. Consumer inflation was pegged at 1.9 per cent. Real GDP growth is expected to be 0.5 percent in 2016 and strengthen to 1.0 percent in 2017. 

  • Close Ties to the United States: The Bahamas is an English speaking country of approximately 400,000 inhabitants with over 700 islands and cays, and extensive air and communication links to the United States.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection operates pre-clearance facilities in Nassau and Freeport, offering ease of travel for the 6.2 M mostly American tourists each year.  Bilateral relations between The Bahamas and the United States are good. 

  •  High Unemployment Rate:  The Bahamas per capita income is $22,700.  Many students complete tertiary education in the United States, United Kingdom or Canada.   Despite having a highly trained industry specific professional labor force, in November 2015 the overall unemployment rate stood at 14.8 per cent with the unemployment rate for those aged 15 to 24 at 30 per cent. 

  • Enjoys Trade Preferences: The country is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and a beneficiary under the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) – Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA), Canada’s CARIBCAN Program, and party to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the countries of the Caribbean Forum of the ACP (CARIFORUM).  These agreements provide preferential access for goods produced in The Bahamas to most major markets.  This market access has been attractive to American investment.

  • Strong U.S. Market Share: The United States remains The Bahamas main trade partner and has a significant trade surplus with approximately 85% of products imported coming from the United States.  Most Bahamians are familiar with American products from frequent travel to the United States and exposure to U.S. cable TV.  In 2015, In 2015, U.S. exports (trade in goods) to The Bahamas exceed $2,388.8 million while imports into the United States from The Bahamas were 452.8 million. (Source www.census.gov) Other trading partners include Canada, China and the United Kingdom. The Bahamas is the third largest importer of fossil fuel in the English Speaking Caribbean. 

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.