More information about The Bahamas is available on the Bahamas country page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States established diplomatic relations with The Bahamas in 1973 following its independence from the United Kingdom. As a neighbor, The Bahamas and its political stability are especially important to the United States. The United States and the Bahamian government have worked together on reducing crime and addressing illegal migration issues. With the closest island only 50 miles from the coast of Florida, The Bahamas is used often as a gateway for drugs, weapons, and illegal aliens bound for the United States. Bahamian and U.S. law enforcement agencies cooperate closely to address these threats, and the U.S. Coast Guard assists Bahamian authorities in coastal defense through Operation Bahamas, Turks & Caicos (OPBAT). U.S. assistance and resources have been essential to Bahamian efforts to mitigate the persistent flow of illegal narcotics, guns, and migrants through the archipelago. The United States and The Bahamas also cooperate actively on law enforcement, civil aviation, marine research, meteorology, and agricultural issues. The U.S. Navy operates an underwater research facility on Andros Island.
U.S. Assistance to The Bahamas
U.S. foreign assistance to The Bahamas supports the key goals of improving maritime and border security; bolstering law enforcement and counternarcotics efforts, including demand reduction; strengthening the criminal justice system; and improving interdiction capabilities. Regional security programs complement bilateral aid, providing further assistance for law enforcement, citizen safety, and rule-of-law programs.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The Bahamian economy is driven by tourism, international banking, and investment management, which comprise up to 85 percent of GDP. Most of the U.S.-affiliated businesses operating in The Bahamas are associated with tourism and banking; however, there are also several U.S.-owned industrial companies located in Grand Bahama. Historically, a majority of the 5.5 million tourists who visit The Bahamas each year come from the United States. The Bahamas imports nearly all its food and manufactured goods from the United States, although it is beginning to diversify its supply chain to include Asian and Latin American suppliers. U.S. goods and services tend to be favored by Bahamians due to cultural similarities and exposure to U.S. advertising. Due to its dependence on U.S. tourism and trade, the Bahamian economy is affected by U.S. economic performance. The Bahamas struggles with high electricity costs, which impede new investment. The Bahamas is a beneficiary of the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection maintains “preclearance” facilities at the airports in Nassau and Freeport. Travelers to the United States, including businesspeople and tourists, are interviewed and inspected before departure, allowing faster connection times in the United States.
The Bahamas’ Membership in International Organizations
The Bahamas and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Organization of American States, International Monetary Fund, International Maritime Organization, and the World Bank. The Bahamas is an observer to the World Trade Organization and the government has expressed an intention to accede to the organization in 2019.
Principal U.S. embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
The Bahamas maintains an embassy in the United States at 2220 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 (tel: 202-319-2660).
More information about The Bahamas is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Bahamas Page
History of U.S. Relations With The Bahamas
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies (see Caribbean Islands)