The meetings will be held from April 16th – May 3rd
The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC), in meeting its access and advocacy responsibilities to its members and the private sector in The Bahamas, will facilitate a series of consultative meetings in partnership with the Ministry of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration (MoFS), with respect to The Bahamas’ accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The meetings, currently being advertised in local newspapers, will be held at the Ministry of Finance in the Cecil Wallace Whitfield Centre, Cable Beach, and will take place in three distinct, daily, industry-specific sessions, every weekday from Monday, April 16th through Thursday, May 3rd.
The BCCEC encourages stakeholder engagement on the subject of the WTO, in order to establish a more robust dialogue that will help to promote social and economic opportunities (and minimize threats) for each industry of the Bahamian economy. Full engagement and dissemination of information obtained through that engagement will allow business and industry stakeholders to assist in the production and presentation of economic data/ analyses to be used by The Bahamas’ WTO negotiating team and the wider business community.
Every business in The Bahamas is invited to attend
Every business in The Bahamas – selling goods or services – is invited to register its interest in and planned attendance at these meetings. Questionnaires for producers of goods and for producers of services will be distributed to businesses beforehand, to boost the productivity of the discussions, and businesses are asked to complete these questionnaires before attending their respective meetings.
A published schedule of the consultative meetings is now in circulation, with a meeting day/ time given for each specific industry, and each business should attend the meeting most relevant to the nature of its industry. For a business to confirm its attendance, or if a business is uncertain about which meeting to attend, its representative should contact the MoFS, Trade & Industry and Immigration at email@example.com, or by phone at 328.5071-6. To receive an electronic copy of the WTO meetings schedule, or questionnaire, please contact the BCCEC at 322.2145, with contact and company name, mobile phone contact, and valid email address.
The BCCEC will also facilitate WTO workshops
The BCCEC will continue to work along with the MoFS, Trade & Industry and Immigration, to ensure that as many industries of business as exist in The Bahamas are able to get firsthand information on the WTO in consultation with the MoFS. The BCCEC works continually to ensure that there is greater and more relevant discussion between government and the private sector, utilizing any necessary platform that is suitable for public-private discourse.
In the coming weeks and months, the BCCEC will also collaborate with the University of The Bahamas (UB) to facilitate open workshops on the subject of the WTO, for the benefit of the general public. The BCCEC will also consult with civil society, including trade unions and other organizations, to achieve maximum exposure to WTO discussions in the public domain.
Businesses, and the public in general, are asked to pay close attention to the local news media, as well as the BCCEC’s social media pages (listed below), for ongoing updates about these workshops and other events. Business representatives may send a WhatsApp message – noting contact and company name, mobile number, and email address – to the BCCEC, to be added to its broadcast list for the receipt of timely information about WTO meetings, seminars, workshops, etc.
The WTO represents the largest international trade bloc
“The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.” – WTO.org
The WTO represents the largest bloc for international trade agreements, and The Bahamas government has maintained ‘observer’ status for 17 years, with the aim of achieving full membership by 2019, thereby accelerating all the benefits the WTO provides to its members and to Bahamians. The consultative meetings described herein are an important precursor to negotiating the best terms of trade under the WTO, and Bahamian businesses are wholly encouraged to participate in the process.
Click here to view the WTO Public Consultations schedule.