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Government to assess impact of trade deals

The Minister of Financial Services Hope Strachan recently met with international trade experts to discuss the development of a vulnerability study to assess the potential impact of trade agreements on the Bahamian economy. Pictured: (from left) Alexious Rolle, financial and trade officer, Ministry of Financial Services; Ava Rodland, project manager, Ministry of Financial Services; Keva Bain, legal advisor and acting director of trade and industry, Ministry of Financial Services; Dr Derk Bienen, consultant BKP Development Research & Consulting; Hope Strachan, Minister of Financial Services; Pierre Sauvé, consultant, World Trade Institute; Hillary Deveaux, consultant, Ministry of Financial Services; and Dorcas Cox, project manager, Ministry of Financial Services. (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)

Thursday, December 15, 2016
Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Minister of Financial Services Hope Strachan met with consultants from BKP Development Research and Consulting, an economic research and consulting firm based in Germany, and the World Trade Institute, an academic institution of the University of Bern, Switzerland, December 8, 2016 to discuss the development of a vulnerability study to assess the potential impact of trade agreements on the Bahamian economy.

In October 2008, The Bahamas government signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with CARIFORUM Member States (CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic) and the European Union (EU).

The agreement represents the first negotiated reciprocal trade agreement for The Bahamas and addresses trade in goods and services, investment, trade-related issues such as innovation and intellectual property, as well as links to development cooperation.

It is anticipated that the EPA should assist the private sector in accessing export markets in Europe and the wider Caribbean, and also provide preferential access for European goods and services to CARIFORUM markets.

Additionally, the government is currently in the process of negotiating membership to the World Trade Organization, which will require compliance with a number of trade agreements.

While cognizant of the benefits that trade agreements may provide for The Bahamas, the government is also mindful of the potential impact that such agreements may have on vulnerable sectors of the Bahamian economy.

As such, the government, through the Ministry of Financial Services, which has responsibility for international trade, has retained the services of BKP Consulting, headed by lead consultant Dr Derk Bienen, and Professor Pierre Sauvé of the World Trade Institute, to identify those sectors of the Bahamian economy that may benefit from trade liberalization and those sectors that may be the most vulnerable to trade liberalization, and to provide advice on the various policy options that the government may deploy to address those vulnerabilities.

The Ministry of Financial Services organized consultations with a cross section of public and private sector stakeholders from December 8-13, 2016 to discuss the study being undertaken by BKP Consulting.

While in The Bahamas, the Consultants also met with officials of the National Development Plan Secretariat, as the government seeks to finalize ‘Vision 2040,’ the National Development Plan of The Bahamas.

The consultants are also collaborating with a team of faculty at the University of The Bahamas.

Lumina Point, a small luxury boutique hotel located on Stocking Island off Great Exuma, has recently opened for business.

Real estate broker Mario Carey announced this week that he has launched a full-fledged property management division that includes commercial property management.

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