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WTO Discusses Accession With The Bahamas

By Amanda Banks, Lowtax.net, London
17 April, 2014

David Shark, the deputy Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has visited the Bahamas to discuss the island's efforts to accede to the global trade body.

The Bahamas is currently negotiating its accession to the WTO to secure better access for domestic goods and services. Membership would unlock more favorable duty rates, but also bring fiscal challenges as the territory would be required to lower fiscal barriers to trade.

The Bahamas is the only country in the region that is not yet a member of the WTO, and Shark's visit served to increase local and international awareness of the multilateral obligations involved, and the benefits of Bahamas's proposed accession. Membership of the WTO would considerably broaden international opportunities available to Bahamian companies, as well as open up local markets to foreign companies.

Shark said: "From what I have seen, I have seen great enthusiasm on the part of the Government of the Bahamas in becoming a WTO member, [and] to become a WTO member on terms that are beneficial to the people of the Bahamas, and that is the way it should be."

The Bahamas is preparing to introduce a value-added tax to offset the revenue impact of joining the WTO, in particular the requirement that the territory must lower its import duties considerably.

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