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New IP legislation to pave way for WTO membership

The Ministry of Financial Services is set to introduce new intellectual property (IP) legislation that will spur growth and help the jurisdiction's efforts to gain accession to the World Trade Organization. 

Monday, December 3, 2012
Monday, December 3, 2012

The Ministry of Financial Services is set to introduce a raft of new intellectual property (IP) legislation that it says will help The Bahamas become an important trade hub, create opportunities for the country’s upcoming entrepreneurs and strengthen the economy.

According to Minister for Financial Services Ryan Pinder the final draft of the new “suite of IP legislation” is ready and the Ministry is poised to begin a consulation and education period, with input from the private sector.

The move to modernize the country’s IP system comes as The Bahamas continues its efforts to become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). WTO members must be a party to the TRIPS Agreement, which sets out IP policy.

Addressing a seminar at the British Colonial Hilton hotel today, Minister Pinder said fulfilling this obligation would not only bring The Bahamas up to speed with WTO requirements, but also meet its duties under the European Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was signed in 2008.

He also explained that modernizing the country’s IP legislation would open the door to economic growth, by way of increased trade.

“IP obligations are also trade obligations,” he said. “A modern IP system is one of the important infrastructural investments a country must make and we are in the process of making these.”

“The Bahamas, as a country, must integrate into the global economy, because it is necessary for our economic survival and to ensure that we are always providing new and relevant opportunities for Bahamians in the global marketplace.”

Minister Pinder noted that the legislation would help Bahamian entrepreneurs access opportunities outside the country, saying: “Without the necessary infrastructure and compliance with international best practices, young Bahamian entrepreneurs are [excluded] from a number of opportunities that exist internationally.”

The government aims to become a WTO member by the end of 2014. To achieve this, it is working with bodies such as the Inter-American Development Bank, which granted the country a $16.5-million loan earlier this year, to help it reform its trade sector.


The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Ltd has changed the name of its Nassau-based subsidiary from Butterfield Bank (Bahamas) Ltd to Butterfield Trust (Bahamas) Ltd to reinforce its commitment to offering trust and fiduciary services from The Bahamas to both local and international clients.

Acting Director of Trade & Industry in the Ministry of Financial Services Viana Gardiner (pictured) has said that she believes that new intellectual property legislation will encourage international companies to base their operations in Grand Bahama.

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