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WTO membership to benefit Bahamian producers

Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder said recently that full membership and compliance in the World Trade Organization is necessary if Bahamian producers want to compete on an even field with other international producers. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Minister of Financial Services Ryan Pinder said recently that full membership and compliance in the World Trade Organization (WTO) is necessary if Bahamian producers want to compete on an even field with other international producers.

“Bahamian exporters would find themselves having favourable access to more than 100 countries, giving them an expansive foreign marketplace,” Minister Pinder told participants in the recent Bahamas Bureau of Standards’ First National Standardization Forum and Formation of Technical Committees Workshop, held at SuperClubs Breezes.


Minister Pinder noted that while the benefits of WTO seem numerous, the realization of such benefits would only be achieved by adhering to the principles of the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreement for the development, adoption and implementation of standards.

“On a governmental level, standards provide the technological and scientific bases underpinning health, safety and environmental legislation especially when we consider how international standards will impact air, water, and soil quality, and on emissions of gases and radiation,” he said.

“On a very basic level we must adopt local standards that are enforceable by law. Bahamians should be afforded the same level of health and environmental safety afforded those in the region and internationally.”

He noted, however, that it is a process that cannot be completed in isolation.

“We must work with industry professionals and partners as we look at those areas of our society that are vulnerable and in desperate need of further regulations,” Minister Pinder said.

“Additionally, we must ensure that The Bahamas remains compliant with internationally adopted protocols.”

“We must commit to taking full advantage of the services provided by groups that we are members of, such as CROSQ (CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality) and the ISO (International Organization for Standardization), and the potential benefits that exist for local businesses and residents.”

Minister Pinder reiterated the importance of The Bahamas’ partnerships within the region, especially its membership in CROSQ–the body responsible for the development of harmonized regional standards.

“While open for adoption by all members of CARICOM, The Bahamas has yet to adopt any CROSQ standards,” Minister Pinder pointed out.

“It is believed that this symposium and industry consultation is the first and critical step in ensuring that we change and become more involved in this process, which not only benefits our regional partnerships, but also global trade agreements and our accession to the WTO, which the development of these CROSQ standards are based upon.”

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