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Bahamas Ready To Join WTO, Says Trade Minister

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

09 December 2002


The Bahamas may make a representation to join the World Trade Organisation as early as January 2003, according to Trade and Industry Minister, Leslie O. Miller.

Speaking at a three-day seminar on customs valuation, the Minister announced that: 'I don't believe that there is any turning back for the Bahamas as far as the WTO is concerned.'

However, according to a Nassau Guardian report last week, Mr Miller revealed that he remains less convinced by the viability of the US sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), stating that if it is decided that joining the FTAA is not in the best interests of the Bahamian people 'then we simply will not join'.

In preparation for the WTO move, the Bahamian Customs Department has embarked on a modernisation program designed to prepare it for transition to the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement.

In his speech last week, Mr Miller urged Customs officials to ready themselves, and to 'find procedures which serve to minimise the cost of compliance and eliminate tax evasion and avoidance,' revealing that currently, Bahamians are behind in their tax payments by some $140 million.


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