By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Chamber of Commerce's chairman yesterday warned there was "tremendous anxiety" over the WTO accession amid the absence of analysis on its likely impact.
Michael Maura, addressing the National Conclave of Chambers of Commerce, said the private sector organisation will pay the costs associated with conducting an economic impact study to determine World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership's impact on local industries.
"It is the private sector that plans on raising significant monies to ensure that we have the right kind of economic analysis going into WTO, because what we found through all those industry consultations was that the private sector was asked to indicate where the "red line" was; that place we can't go with the negotiations," he explained.
"In almost every instance the industry was unable. They would have if they could, but they were unable to articulate where that "red line" is because there isn't sufficient analysis and data which speaks to the impact that WTO would have on a particular industry.
Mr Maura indicated that the Chamber had asked thegovernment for six months to complete its analysis. Bids to conduct the study will likely be sought from consultancies, with the Chamber also expected to contract Oxford Economics to study on the government's proposed 12 percent VAT rate.
"There is tremendous anxiety in our business communities over what WTO means. There just isn't sufficient information," said Mr Maura, warning that keeping the private sector "on the outside" will only create more anxiety.