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How will Brexit Affect Belize?

On Thursday, June 23, 2016, a referendum was held to determine whether the United Kingdom should leave or stay in the European Union. As a result, the majority of the population voted to leave the European Union by 51.9%. The effect of the vote was not immediate, as a matter of fact, it will not come into effect until March 29, 2019. Britain’s exit from the EU has been termed Brexit. What effect if any will such an action have in Belize? According to a report from Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) entitled “Brexit and the Caribbean”, it quoted Professor H. Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies as saying”Every aspect of Caribbean life will be adversely affected by this development; from trade relations to immigration, tourism to financial relations, and culturalengagements to foreign policy. There will be a significant redefinition and reshaping of CARICOM-UK engagements. The region’s fragile economic recovery is threatened.” Love News asked Dr. Leroy Almendarez of the University of Belize about the impact Britain’s exit will have on Belize.  Almendarez said quote “Belize continues to realize a positive trade balance with the United Kingdom (UK) and therefore, we must be more aggressive in ensuring that we are proactive during this period of transition for the UK. The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world, which gives them leverage but the question indeed is where will the priorities be and whether Belize will be aggressive in its efforts to be strategic and be negotiating or discussing fervently to ensure priority. It is up to us in the Commonwealth and Cariforum to make a united push to grab the opportunity that Brexit represents with respect to trade in particular; end quote.  Love News also inquired of the Central Bank of Belize about the matter and they replied quote “The terms have not yet been worked out, it is very difficult to try to determine what kind of changes would occur in the new order of business among countries that have relationships with the UK. Furthermore, trade arrangements are covered under the Economic Partnership Agreement, which is with the EU as a block and not with the UK only. Therefore, it is likely that trading will continue with the EU, albeit under arrangements that we are not sure of as yet.”