The Ministry of Financial Services in collaboration with the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) conducted an information session on The Bahamas’ Trade Information Service Desk and Electronic Portal at SuperClubs Breezes on January 18, 2017. The session targeted actual and potential exporters to highlight the benefits that the Portal could contribute to Bahamian businesses with export potential. The official launch of the Portal is tentatively scheduled for March 2017.
Opening remarks were delivered by Edison Sumner, CEO of the BCCEC. Mr. Sumner noted the importance of the Portal for the consolidation of information into a centralised location to increase and improve trade. Advancing trade services and improving the ease of doing business, he stated, are the two major objectives of the BCCEC for 2017. He further noted that the development of the Portal is a significant achievement towards achieving those objectives.
Minister of Financial Services, the Hon. C.V. Hope Strachan was the key note speaker. She told attendees that the portal was of great importance to the country and assured the audience of the government’s commitment to diversifying the economy and expanding trade.
“The establishment of the Trade Portal is a part of the government’s ongoing efforts to diversify the economy by expanding trade with regional, hemispheric and international trading partners. Currently a Bahamian entrepreneur seeking to export his or her product to a foreign market will have to sift through an excessive amount of information to find reliable trade information on how to export that product. This, I am sure you would agree, makes doing business with The Bahamas unnecessarily difficult and expensive.”
She said that the Portal would serve as an important business facilitation tool by reducing the cost and time required to access trade information, and in turn improve the ease of doing business in The Bahamas. “The intention of this Trade Portal is to create a “one-stop-shop” to access important national, regional and international trade information such as export/import statistics, information on trade regulations – such as quality requirements and standards, certification requirements and rules of origin – as well as shipping information, company profiles and key information on trade agreements.”
The International Trade Center, a joint specialised agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization won the bid to design and develop the Portal. Mr. Joost van der Kooij, Managing Partner of the Dutch company Globally Cool – who is working along with the International Trade Centre in the development of the Trade Portal – gave a brief presentation on the benefits of the Portal to those in attendance.