Govt being briefed on latest meeting of negotiating team with WTO
The government is in the process of being briefed on the latest visit of The Bahamas’ negotiating team to the Fourth Working Party meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the country’s chief negotiator Zhivargo Laing told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that he is looking forward to reading the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation’s (BCCEC) report on the effect WTO accession will have on this country’s economy.
Laing, who said he could not talk about the negotiation results from this latest meeting in Geneva, Switzerland until the government has been briefed, explained that negotiations with the WTO are ongoing.
“We held discussions, we talked to the various parties, the outcomes of those talks are being provided to the government and in due course we will update the public,” said Laing.
“Generally speaking there is a written report submitted to the government. It’s something the bureaucracy of the government has to take care of.”
Laing could not say where exactly The Bahamas is in its accession process. He contended that the negotiation process is often a long one that takes on “a life of its own”.
“It’s an ongoing negotiations and for me to say that we’re close or that we’re far, I couldn’t’ say that at all,” he pointed out.
“It’s just a continuous, ongoing discussion being held, it’s a process.”
The government has been criticized about its lack of public consultation on WTO matters, but Laing said he is certain the government will continue its efforts to enlighten the public and ensure Bahamians understand the accession process.
“I expect that the government will continue and maybe increase its public dialogue on the matter, especially as you have members of the public who are asking for more and more information, that only makes sense,” Laing said.
The BCCEC is expecting to have its Oxford Economics report in hand this week, and went as observers to Geneva with the government’s negotiating team.
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