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Government readies for WTO membership

The government is adjusting its legal framework and improving market access in order to build better trade links and satisfy the requirements of the World Trade Organization, which it hopes to join by the end of 2014. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Viana GardinerThe government is adjusting its legal framework and improving market access in order to build better trade links and satisfy the requirements of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which it hopes to join by the end of 2014.

Following meetings with key trade partners, such as the US, The Bahamas is moving forward with its plans to obtain full WTO membership according to director of trade in the Ministry of Financial Services Viana Gardiner (pictured).

Speaking at a Bahamas Institute of Financial Services Bankers’ Week seminar May 14, Gardiner said the country needed to take significant steps to meet the WTO criteria and this would include reform of the tax system, government procurement, import controls and intellectual property laws.

“We have to be prepared on a number of fronts,” she said. “The government has more work to do.”


Gardiner stressed the importance of obtaining WTO membership, saying: “We have to give the impression that we are open for business. The reality is that we are a service based economy and our services are exported, which means we need the international community.”

The private sector will be consulted throughout the process, according to Gardiner, who added that seminars and workshops would give interested parties a chance to learn more and participate in the discussions.

Bankers’ Week is taking place at the British Colonial Hilton and runs until May 16. Other topics on the agenda include emerging markets, developments in risk management and compliance and e-government.

cmorris@dupuch.com

Speaking at the opening of Bankers' Week yesterday, Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder urged businesses to offer internships and to get involved in innovative training programmes.

The Ministry of Finance received draft legislation for widespread tax reform this week and says that it hopes to officially introduce the new VAT system by July 2014.

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