Categorized | National News

WTO Ascension To Boost Economy, Says Laing

In an effort to bring clarity on the benefit of the Bahamas joining the World Trade Organization, Chief Negotiator for The Bahamas’ Ascension to the WTO, Zhivargo Laing  is disputing   claims that with the WTO will also come  the free movement of people.

He said joining WTO will boost the economy, thus  making  the Bahamas  more attractive.

“The rules of the WTO has nothing to do with the free movement of labour.  It does  have to do with something that we already allow  though. 

“We allow for a consultant or a traveling sales person to come into the country for a shot term permit for about 15 days,” he said. 

Mr. Laing said ,”the  WTO’s rules normally extend to 90 days for such a person. If we  have members of the WTO  traveling to the US for consultancy or for a traveling salesman pitch, we could have up to 90 days to do that.

“So  the adjustment there would be whether you go from 15 days to 90 or something in between,  but there is no free movement of people, none whatsoever,” he said.  

Mr. Laing said that the WTO will only assist The Bahamas in achieving economic prosperity.

He added that it is seeking to eliminate or reduce bans which are restrictions on the movement of goods across borders, and to reduce custom duties.

“Of  the  6000  plus items that we import,  there are about 29 items that represent manufactured goods or farm goods that compete with items we import similar to them, like water, like bleach, like mattresses etc. 

“So if you reduce the duty on them, they will face greater competitive pressure and that is true if you reduce the duty on them, but they represent essentially a 2 per cent  slither that is in the whole goods section of the negotiations,” Mr. Laing said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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