Categorized | National News

Pinder Pleased With WTO Accession Progress

The Bahamas continues to make the necessary steps toward accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and new round of offers are expected to be brought before Cabinet today, revealed Financial Services Minister Ryan Pinder.

Mr. Pinder recently told the Journal that he was pleased with the progress that has been made toward accession and he noted that there is constant dialogue between the government and the financial services industry.

“We are advancing our technical offers. We had full consultations with a number of industries – I think 26 odd industries we had one-on-one consultations with as we are constructing our next offer to give to the WTO on our accession process. We are hoping that offer should be before Cabinet [today] to discuss it at Cabinet and to be able to advance it with the WTO.

“We are taking a position as a country which is consistent with our national investment policy – that’s consistent with our tax reform process and that really reflects the interest and the concerns of the industry after our consultations. We’re not going to take any positions at this point in time that are contrary to what’s happening in the industries and what they want to pursue.”

The financial services minister noted that there are currently several pieces of legislation before parliament that need to be passed in order to put The Bahamas in line with WTO standards and he expects those bills to be passed in the coming months.

Additionally, he said the government is committed to public consultation and debate about the issue.

“Every major decision in the country should have political debate – should have civic debate and it should have public interest debate. That is why we are going to bring the information to the public. We are preparing ourselves – we’re modernising our legislative regime. We still have the Intellectual Property Legislation tabled in the senate. We still have Customs Management Act and Government Procurement Legislation, a Tariff Act and other pieces of legislation during this budget debate get passed.

“We’re going to mordernise our SPS – our Food Safety regime – our standards regime. And we’re going to cause The Bahamas to have internationally-recognised standards and legislation going forward. We will do our negotiations with our trading partners and throughout that whole process there will be consultation and debate. That’s one thing we don’t shy away from – we want industry’s input on how do we formulate the proper dialogue offers and strategies for Bahamians at large.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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