Friday, May 3, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
Pictured: (left to right) Michael Guy, second secretary, Embassy of The Bahamas London; Anuja De Silva, manager (interim), Commonwealth Small States Office, Geneva; Tia Hanna, financial and trade officer, Ministry of Financial Services; and Rita Kaufmann, financial and trade officer, Ministry of Financial Services at the Commonwealth Small States Office in Geneva. (Photo courtesy Embassy of The Bahamas, London)
Government and diplomatic representatives from The Bahamas are attending the 26th Geneva Week at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, which runs April 29-May 3.
Rita Kaufmann, financial and trade officer, Ministry of Financial Services, and Michael Guy, second secretary, Embassy of The Bahamas London, have been at the week-long conference.
These special events bring together representatives of WTO member and observer countries that do not have Permanent Missions in Geneva.
The purpose is to inform these non-resident member countries and observers about recent developments taking place at the WTO. The 26th Geneva Week welcomed twenty-four countries to Geneva (16 members and eight observers.)
The representatives from The Bahamas participated in consultations on outstanding matters that will assist the government in its accession to the WTO.
Aid for trade, the importance of service in value chains, promoting access to medical technologies and innovation, and the recent WTO dispute settlement activities were some of the matters discussed.
The representatives from The Bahamas also took the opportunity to tour the Commonwealth Small States Office (SSO) in Geneva, where The Bahamas has signed a tenancy agreement.
The SSO in Geneva provides subsidized office space for small and developing states to establish a diplomatic presence for accreditation and engagement with the many multilateral organizations in Geneva, and possible bilateral accreditation in Europe.
Technical support is also available to resident and visiting small states’ delegations, through the availability of Commonwealth experts on trade and human rights.
In addition, the representatives were able to visit the Advisory Centre on WTO Law and participate in an African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group Meeting on overcoming technical barriers to trade.
The representatives from The Bahamas expressed the need for technical assistance to develop and establish necessary trade infrastructure, such as a Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) laboratory and a Standards Bureau in The Bahamas.
With The Bahamas on a path towards WTO accession, the government is pursuing its objective to secure further market access for Bahamian goods and services with the simultaneous creation of additional beneficial commercial networks, with transparency rules of operation and best international practices.
Throughout the week-long event, the representatives engaged the various experts, ascertaining opportunities for collaboration with the WTO to support the accession process that embodies the streamlining of robust trade and legislative mechanisms.
Preparations for the MC9 (Ministerial Conference) scheduled to be held in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013 were discussed, including the issues facing least developed countries and the Draft Agreement on Trade Facilitation.
Additionally, The Bahamas was able to update the World Trade Organization during private consultations on the various steps taken thus far to move closer to accession.