Tuesday, Jul 16, 2019
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Chamber: Feedback mixed following release of WTO accession report

The feedback has been mixed on World Trade Organization (WTO) accession based on information in a report by global forecasting and quantitative analysis firm Oxford Economics, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation’s (BCCEC) lead on WTO matters Darron Pickstock told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that the report does show that a small island nation like The Bahamas could successfully join the WTO.

Pickstock explained that members of the business community giving feedback to the chamber since the report was released last week, are split down the middle on this country joining the WTO. Pickstock added that there are chamber members who are still searching for more information and answers before they make a decision. The report was commissioned by the BCCEC.

“The business community is very happy with the report in that they now understand better and they are now better able to sit down, review the report and make an informed decision about the WTO,” Pickstock said.

“Some in the business community still have concerns and so the feeling is mixed… some people are still undecided.

“By and large the business community would have a greater sense of comfort if they better understood the WTO and there are misconceptions that drive the belief that WTO is not in their best interest.”

Pickstock said there is still a misconception that WTO accession would cause a change in this country’s immigration policy that would allow an influx of foreign workers to migrate here unfettered. However, the authors of the Oxford Economics report and WTO experts have time and again dispelled this myth.

Pickstock added that there are others who are concerned about the protection of their industries.

“If people understood the WTO process then they would be more comfortable,” he said.

“They want to know how their industry will be protected. WTO membership is an evolving process.

“Some people are still a little confused on some issues, but that’s the reason the report was done. But this is how you get clarity.”

Pickstock said the BCCEC will meet with its membership to get more feedback and will be carrying out a public relations campaign on the talk shows and radio shows, taking questions so that people can get further clarity from the report.

“We’re open to responding to questions on the report,” he said.

Chester Robards

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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