D. Neil McKinney
Bahamas Chamber of Commerce
The local Chamber of Commerce has undertaken to prepare a Strategic Framework for Optimising Benefits from Trade Liberalisation in The Bahamas. To this end, it commissioned a regional consulting firm to conduct a study on the impact of both the WTO and FTAA on the Bahamian economy.
Recently, Mr. D. Neil McKinney, a Past President of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and former Chairman of its Private Sector Task Force on Trade Negotiations, addressed some of the challenges facing The Bahamas as it prepares for transitions relating to the trade regimes. He cited various steps considered essential in this process, among which he included the sound positioning of the nation’s financial services sector, and e-commerce’s pivotal role in the new commercial opportunities becoming available. He further said the capital market must become a major driver of equity financing for business expansion. The rationalisation of immigration policies relating to the import of strategic skills, at minimum social cost, was also seen as a necessary step.
There must be laws and regulatory mechanisms to protect consumers and safeguard the economy from harmful trade practices, and also to promote competition. On the last point, it is essential that the quality of the Bahamian human resources and industrial relations be improved on an ongoing basis to ensure that economic competitiveness is sustainable.
*”Even if we do not join a trade bloc, the implementation of policies to streamline and improve the efficiency of our economy and to make us more competitive would better position us for further growth and development”*, said the Chamber’s Past President.
Identifying 20 critical success factors for realising optimum benefits from liberalised trade, the Study also assesses the status of The Bahamas against these factors.
A Report of the Study’s findings can be obtained from the Bahamas Chamber.