**John Delaney, Chairman**

The Ministry of Finance has launched the official website of **The Bahamas Trade Commission**; a public site for pertinent information on the various international trade agreements The Bahamas has entered into, or may be considering,

John Delaney, Commission Chairman, points out that the website will be used to communicate with the public on various trade matters before the country. It will host a web blog for the chairman’s message, information for the business community, information for the general public and resources for students.

*“It is particularly important for us as a developing community, and developing in the context of understanding international trade matters, that there is opportunity for school students to learn about trade and trade terms as it relates to The Bahamas’ arrangements with Europe or any other place,”* Mr. Delaney said.

The Caribbean Community, of which The Bahamas is a member, is also seeking a trade agreement with Canada (CARICOM-Canada trade agreement) to be implemented by 2012. *“The website would be very useful because work, discussions and indeed learning about that agreement which is contemplated, is only just started. We expect the website to be an extremely useful tool as we assist the public in getting to understand that,”* Mr. Delaney continued.

The Bahamas Trade Commission was formed to canvas the Bahamian business community to ascertain concerns regarding the various trade agreements the country would be party to, such as the World Trade Organisation and the successor agreements to the Caribbean Basin Initiative and CaribCan, and to inform them about the developments during the negotiations. The Commission also has a role to educate the wider Bahamian public on trade negotiations and The Bahamas’ participation in them.

The Commission receives regular confidential briefings from public officials and Ministers on various matters that concern trade negotiations and arranges private meetings with representatives of the business community and individual business to understand their concerns about various trade agreements. The Commission also presents periodic reports to the Minister with responsibility for Trade about matters of concern among the business community and cooperates with the Ministry of Finance in a public awareness campaign about trade agreements and trade negotiations.

The Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) is represented on the Commission.