Categorized | National News

Chamber To Conduct Study For WTO

The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) is planning on conducting its own study into The Bahamas’ accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

To do so, it has engaged Oxford Economics – which has undertaken a comprehensive review of the local economy.

According to the Chamber’s WTO Representative, Darren Pickstock, this will include a complete assessment of the economic implications of The Bahamas actually becoming a member of the WTO. 

“Given the importance of trade to our national economy, there has been significant public discourse about the prospects of WTO accession and its potential impact on our economy, business, and the people  of  The Bahamas,” he said.

“Therefore, the Chamber thought it critical to engage Oxford Economics in order to obtain an independent study before it can make an informed and a fact based decision on whether it thinks it is beneficial for The Bahamas to join the World Trade Organization,” he added.

“Oxford Economics, as you may be aware, has a proven track record of assisting governments and private sector organizations around the world with economic modeling, forecasting and global macro and policy scenario analysis,” said Mr. Pickstock.

While it  is  not a silver bullet, Mr. Pickstock, said the report will assist the Chamber in making a determination on whether it supports The Bahamas’ accession to the WTO.

 “It’s a fluid negotiation and so the intention is that the ministry will have to come back to the private sector and the business community and that won’t be next month, that won’t be in February.

“And the intention is for that report to be in place, so that when the government do come back to the private sector and when we engage with our members we can rely on that report in those discussions with the members and with the government in order to assist them in addressing any concerns and in order to assist us in addressing any concerns that may be raised,” Mr. Pickstock said.

Chamber Chief  Executive Officer, Jeffery Beckles, said they will hold several fora  with their membership as well as the wider community.

“We’ve actually circulated the report on Wednesday once it was released.

“It is our intention over the next coming days, in the next week or two to collaborate with our members and other members of the business community who have had a chance to review the document,” he added.

“And this of course is a critical stage for us, because up to this point, very little information had been released. 

“So we’re trying to maximize the effort in the next ten days to two weeks, so that we can at least begin the process of giving the government some feedback,” he said.

The study should be completed in early April.

The report will then be shared with the government.

Elements of the report will also be shared with and made available to the public.   

Written by Jones Bahamas

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