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.
U.S.-THE BAHAMAS RELATIONS
The United States established diplomatic relations with The Bahamas in 1973 following its independence from the United Kingdom. The Bahamas and its political stability are especially important to the United States due to our long, shared maritime border. The United States and the Bahamian government have partnered on reducing crime and addressing irregular migration. With the closest island only 50 miles from the coast of Florida, The Bahamas is used by transnational criminal organizations as a transit point for drugs, weapons, and irregular migrants bound for the United States. Bahamian and U.S. law enforcement agencies cooperate to address these threats, and the U.S. Coast Guard assists Bahamian authorities in coastal defense through Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos (OPBAT). U.S. security assistance and resources have been essential to Bahamian efforts to mitigate organized crime through the archipelago. The United States and The Bahamas also cooperate actively on law enforcement, civil aviation, environmental, and commercial 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; strengthening the criminal justice system; improving interdiction capabilities; enhancing transparency and the ease of doing business; and promoting energy security. Regional security programs complement bilateral aid, providing further assistance for law enforcement, citizen safety, climate change, and rule-of-law programs. The United States has provided substantial assistance to The Bahamas to support public health and disease mitigation over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent years, the United States has also made significant contributions to disaster preparedness and relief efforts in the wake of major storms, in particular the devastating Category 5 Hurricane Dorian that struck The Bahamas in September of 2019.
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 U.S.-The Bahamas trade relationship is approximately $3 billion annually with a $2.5 billion U.S. trade surplus. 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. 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 (although the Freeport facility has been inoperable since Hurricane Dorian damaged the Freeport International airport). 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 by 2025.
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: