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Symonette: Issues raised in Oxford Economics report ‘integral to our discussion with regard to WTO accession’

Many of the issues raised in the report on the impact of World Trade Organization (WTO) accession by global forecasting and quantitative analysis firm Oxford Economics – commissioned by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) and released on Tuesday – are integral to the government’s discussions with regard to accession, Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette told Guardian Business yesterday.

According to Symonette, an economic report is being prepared for Cabinet that will likely include the BCCEC report.

“These are issues that are part of the negotiations and are still before Cabinet, so we’re preparing a Cabinet paper to take the report to Cabinet for discussion,” he said.

Symonette praised the report as “very good”, saying his negotiating team cooperated fully with the consultants from Oxford Economics to help them glean information for the report.

“A lot of the issues they raise are integral to our discussion with regard to WTO accession,” he said.

“It was a very good report. I’m very happy with the report. It looks at the issue from an independent standpoint.

“You see the private sector report saying this is what has to be done.

“The chamber should be congratulated. It will be helpful in the ongoing discussions that the public has.”

Symonette said there has been a lot of negative feedback on WTO accession, but the report offers two different scenarios on the path to WTO accession that the critics can look at.

“Here it is in black and white,” he said.

He explained that one of the scenarios calls for the government taking bold steps to modernize the economy.

“That’s an issue government has to discuss and will no doubt be discussing in the next couple of weeks,” Symonette said.

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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