The much-awaited report on the impact of The Bahamas’ accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) – compiled by global forecasting and quantitative analysis firm Oxford Economics – should be delivered on time at the end of the month, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeffrey Beckles said yesterday, adding that The Bahamas has to accelerate its efforts as it relates to the WTO if it is to meet its deadlines.
The report will come out ahead of the negotiating team’s next visit to the WTO next month.
Beckles said once the report is ready, it will be reviewed and shared publicly.
“We need to get moving,” he said.
“It’s critical to our future success that we get moving. It’s a five-step process and we’re still in the early stages, but The Bahamas needs to accelerate its efforts.”
In November, Ramesh Chaitoo, a trade and investment consultant with Oxford Economics, explained that bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements might not be beneficial for a country the size of The Bahamas because it will have “very little leverage”, which means trade organizations like the WTO could be good for this country.
“The beauty in the WTO from a small country’s perspective is you have a series of members, including groupings to which The Bahamas belongs already, therefore you are able to deflect power relations with safety in numbers,” he said.
According to Chaitoo, in plurilateral arrangements small countries have very little protection.
“In a multilateral context, you have like-minded countries like the African, Caribbean and Pacific group that tends to support its members, you have a SIDS (small-island developing states) group, and you have a small economies group, and they tend to deflect away from the power relationship, which is what occurs in plurilateral agreements and certainly bilateral agreements,” he said.
Darron Pickstock, who heads the BCCEC’s WTO division, said recently that initial findings of the report have so far revealed the need to reform business trade and industry laws independently of WTO accession.