With the launch of the National Trade Policy, The Bahamas now has a comprehensive framework for trade that the government intends to use to lower the trade deficit by empowering more local businesses to tap into export markets.
“Prior to the pandemic, the export of services, particularly tourism related services, served as a counterbalance to our food and goods trade deficit. However, moving forward we are seeking to expand existing areas of strength and diversify into new areas to create new trade opportunities for local businesses and more resilient national economy.”
With the launch of the National Trade Policy, Chairman Galanis indicated that country finally has a coherent approach to the development of trade in alignment with wider national development plans. He stated that the policy is “comprehensive and with broad impacts on the Bahamian economy.”
“This Policy speaks to more effective management of imports through reviewing our tariff structure, the need for competition laws, domestic preferences, and improved incentive schemes. It addresses how we will expand existing exports through our trade promotion efforts and development programmes, a full review of the existing tax regime, the embracing of digital technology, and the development of free trade zones.”
“Through this Policy, The Bahamas will diversify its exports in target areas within the blue, green, and orange economies, while strengthening our domestic competitiveness through the creation of more service-oriented, faster processes combined with greater education and support for local businesses.”
Chairman Galanis credited the extensive consultation process done over the past two years with local businesses, trade experts, and other stakeholders for the comprehensiveness of the Policy.
“We have held numerous formal and informal sessions with local businesses of all sizes and in all relevant industries, securing vital stakeholder input that played a big role in the crafting of the policy. The document we have today reflects that input, as well as the inclusion of input from top local and international experts. As a result, we have developed a trade framework that addresses local needs and is responsive to global demand.”
Moving forward, Mr. Galanis encouraged all local businesses who are interested in participating in international trade or expanding the extent of their trade activity to reach out to the Trade Commission to learn more about the Policy and upcoming opportunities for enrichment.
He also welcomed all industry stakeholders to continue to work collaboratively with the government as the policy is rolled out, so that all initiatives continue to reflect the needs and input of Bahamian businesses.
“Most trade is conducted by businesses, not the Government, and affects the lives of the Bahamian people, so it will take the joint efforts of both the Government, as well as the private sector, to truly encourage economic diversification in the country. I encourage you all to take an interest in trade and to learn more about the importance of trade to helping us building a stronger economy.”
Those who wish to learn more about the National Trade Policy can download a copy of the policy at https://moea.gov.bs/the-bahamas-national-trade-policy.