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Export Trade To The Bahamas A Legal Perspective for U.S. Exporters. By Tanya N. Wright Business & Legal Consultant. The USA remains the major trading partner of The Bahamas, receiving over $800 million in exports.

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Export Trade To The Bahamas

A Legal Perspective for U.S. Exporters

By Tanya N. Wright

Business & Legal Consultant


The USA remains the major trading partner of The Bahamas, receiving over $800 million in exports.

  • While the Government seeks to reduce The Bahamas’ Import Bill, it is recognized that due to various constraints, The Bahamas will continue to import a ‘large number’ of items to meet consumer demands. *This creates a number of opportunities for U.S. exporters.
export opportunities
Export Opportunities
  • Data processing equipment;
  • Computers;
  • Electronic goods;
  • Hotel and restaurant equipment;
  • Medical supplies;
  • Vehicles and automobile parts;
  • Foods (e.g. meats and vegetables);and
  • Baby products.

There are no quotas in The Bahamas on imports, and the only protective duties applied are in respect of agricultural products in season.

  • For most imports, only exchange control permission is required to pay for goods in a foreign currency.
  • The Bahamas is ranked # 6 by amongst the Latin American and Caribbean Countries in the category of cross border trading signifying the ease in which this activity is conducted.
export trade

Export Trade may take place in one of two ways

  • With The Bahamas; or
  • From within The Bahamas
export trade with the bahamas
EXPORT TRADE(With The Bahamas)
  • Bahamians are free to conduct business with any country in the world without limitation.

*(Assuming that the distribution contract has already been agreed and executed by both parties, the relationship created thereby is governed by general contract law principles).

  • While there is legislation in The Bahamas to regulate the quality of goods and services provided under a contract and for the general protection of the consumer, it is usually the law of the country of origin of the said goods which determines the rights of the parties to a distribution contract.
export trade procedural requirements
EXPORT TRADE(Procedural Requirements)
  • There are procedural requirements for the importation of goods into The Bahamas which are ‘principally governed’ by the following legislation:
    • Customs Management Act (An act to provide for the management and administration of customs…the determination, recovery and remission of customs duties and for connected purposes)
    • Tariff Act (An act to make provision for the imposition and collection of customs duties and to give effect to the Harmonized System of Tariff and other matters connected therewith.)
exports procedural requirements cont d
EXPORTS(Procedural Requirements Cont’d)

Receiving Goods

  • Required documentation (e.g. Customs Declaration with supporting documents);
  • Customs Clearance and Technical Control (e.g. inspection of goods, invoices and contracts, and assessment of duties);
  • Ports and Terminal Handling; and
  • Inland Transportation and Handling
bahamas customs
Bahamas Customs
  • The Bahamian government raises approximately 65% of its total revenue from import tariffs (customs duties) *which, as a result, tend to be high;
  • The basic ad valorem tariff for imported goods is 35%, but a long list of items have separate tariff rates;
bahamas customs cont d
Bahamas Customs Cont’d
  • There is a recent trend towards the reduction or elimination of certain tariffs with a view to making The Bahamas more compliant with international standards, the result of which is to further reduce this traditional barrier to trade.
exemptions and concessions
Exemptions and Concessions
  • Businesses in The Bahamas may be entitled to certain exemptions and other concessions which promote export trade.
  • US exporters may be interested in the industries in which these exemptions and concessions pertain to be able to identify markets within The Bahamas where the traditional barriers to trade have been mitigated or eliminated.
export trade from within the bahamas
EXPORT TRADE (From Within The Bahamas)

In order for an entity to conduct business from within The Bahamas some physical presence in The Bahamas is required using any one of the legal structures permitted in The Bahamas. Three (3) of the most common are listed below:

  • Limited Liability (Domestic) Bahamian Company
  • International Business Company (IBC)
  • Joint Venture
contact us
Contact Us:

A World Cooperation Group Company

Christie Street

Nassau, The Bahamas

Tel: (242) 325-6666

(242) 325-8905