The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers' Confederation, in conjunction with The Bahamas Trade Commission, and The Ministry of Economic Affairs held a webinar on November 2nd on The Bahamas’s National Trade Policy and how it can contribute to the diversification of the economy.
BCCEC chairperson Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson noted that the Chamber has long been an advocate for consultation with industry stakeholders and partners and underscored the importance of domestic and cross-border trade. She noted that as The Bahamas continues to see strong recovery in tourism and other areas, opportunities to support those industries and diversify the Bahamian economy must be explored.
Senate vice-president the Hon. Barry Griffin, Deputy Chairman of The Bahamas Trade Commission noted that the National Trade Policy is in its final stages, with the government currently in the process of reviewing all agreements with this nation’s trade partners as well as exploring new and emerging markets. Senator Griffin also noted that the Commission recently returned from a UK trade mission and continues to dialogue with this nation’s international trade partners.
Senator Griffin said, “A few things came up in all of those discussions. For the most part we get the word that our services promotion is ok and in particular financial services and tourism are engines running on their own. Through our conversations we have found weakness that we can work on and a lot of those centre around the competitive pricing of goods and also brand recognition. What we get is there isn’t enough promotion of Bahamian products in the international market.”
Senator Griffin noted that a strong presence of Bahamian companies and the government at international trade fairs and industry specific conferences has been lacking. He added that the Commission is seeking to ascertain from the Chamber of Commerce and its membership how it can help and rectify these weaknesses. Griffin noted that the national trade policy is in its final stages, with the Commission in the process of reviewing all current agreements with this nation’s trade partners as well as assessing new and emerging markets.
Senator Griffin also noted that the government is assessing the country’s intellectual property regime as it seeks to ensure that Bahamian artists and creatives are protected when they take their products to the international market.
Director of Trade and Industry Brickell Pinder noted that The Bahamas has had a longstanding trade deficit, meaning that annually it imports more than it exports. According to Pinder, this nation’s exports have been centered around four products, namely’ spiny lobster tails, polystyrene, organic chemical compounds, and salt. She further noted that the country’s main services exports are tourism and financial services.
The national trade policy is centered around four pillars, namely; managing imports, expanding exports, diversifying exports in goods and services, and strengthening domestic competitiveness.
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