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Bahamas' Wto Membership Is 'No Fait Accompli'

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Zhivargo Laing

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE Government's chief World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiator yesterday said The Bahamas' accession was no "fait accompli", telling accountants: "I'm not tied to any outcome."

Zhivargo Laing, the former Cabinet Minister, told attendees at the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) conference: "It's either the case that this works to the benefit of The Bahamas or we decide that we don't do it; it doesn't make sense. Why should we do any reform that does not enure to the benefit of this economy?

"It makes no sense just to belong. Belonging should have benefits. That is the job of negotiation; to ensure that whatever we negotiate has meaningful benefit to The Bahamas. That's my mindset. I'm not tied to any outcome. I am tied to to ensuring the best negotiations to produce the best outcomes for The Bahamas."

Mr Laing described this nation's decision to accede to full WTO membership as one of the "'most strategic the Government has ever made".

"Almost every other decision made was because we were asked or forced to do something," he said. "We started this in 2001. The average journey is nine years."

The Minnis Cabinet is pushing for The Bahamas to become a full World Trade Organisation (WTO) member by 2019, with the Government set to lose $40m in revenue by eliminating or reducing import tariffs under its present offers.

"I believe we should scrutinise this whole process, get as much information as we can and hold all of us accountable in this process. I am absolutely committed to going to Geneva to negotiate agreed positions, meaning that we have all agreed whee the red line is we will not cross," said Mr Laing.

He added that once The Bahamas joins the WTO, local industries will have at least a three to five-year adjustment period. The WTO has provisions to allow local businesses to make the necessary price adjustments.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 4 days ago

This arse Laing is the last one we want negotiating anything for our country. We don't need the WTO....they need us. But Laing just doen't get it! We would be fools to sign-up to the WTO.

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Porcupine 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Please explain this 3-5 year adjustment period. Adjust to what? Adjust to lower wages? Adjust to the inability to fight decisions that affect your business? Adjust to the loss of our sovereignty? Adjust to the loss of being able to compete with countries whose electric bills are 1/3 ours? Adjust to the richest people owning our livelihoods. Adjust to being unable to compete with those countries who actually experience an ease of doing business? Adjust to the new world order? With us at the bottom.

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BahamaPundit 3 weeks, 3 days ago

If Laing is such a good guy, why isn't he being more transparent about what he is offering to join WTO?

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BahamaPundit 3 weeks, 3 days ago

We all know that joining WTO is just another word for the Bahamas becoming another of China's Belt and Road B#$CHES anyway.

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