The WTO Working Party on the Accession of The Bahamas met for the second time this week to examine The Bahamas’ trade regime, its trade-related reforms and to assess conformity with WTO rules. A news release from the WTO indicated that The Bahamas had been praised for the considerable progress it had made in undertaking reforms to its trade regime and in bringing it in line with WTO rules.
That notwithstanding, the Chairperson of the Working Party, Ambassador Wayne McCook (Jamaica), said that The Bahamas has considerable work ahead as adherence to WTO rules requires domestic reforms as well as putting in place the necessary enforcement infrastructure.
Ambassador McCook noted that the presence of a high-level delegation to attend the Working Party meeting manifested The Bahamas’ desire to integrate more fully into the multilateral trading system through its accession to the WTO. The Chairman has requested the WTO Secretariat to prepare a “Factual Summary of Points Raised” outlining the discussions in the Working Party.
The Bahamas delegation to the Working Party meeting in Switzerland included new Minister of Financial Services, the Hon. Ryan Pinder, M.P. Minister Pinder confirmed that WTO accession was an important part of the government’s programme to accelerate trade and economic development as well as to create more and better jobs for Bahamians. He added that The Bahamas has been an open economy for many years but as a small island nation it is very dependent on tourism and international financial services. Minister Pinder also referenced the financial services sector as the second largest contributor to The Bahamas’ GDP and one that provides high-paying jobs and career opportunities for Bahamians. He stated that predictable access to world markets for goods and services originating in The Bahamas was one of the necessary preconditions for his government’s economic expansion strategy to succeed.
The Bahamas currently holds Observe Status in the WTO.