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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Bahamas closer to EPA services offer

The Bahamas' services offer attached to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is moving "closer" to being fully accepted by the European Union. "It is not yet concluded," confirmed a source close to the ongoing negotiations last Friday. "But they say we are very close." It's good news for The Bahamas, given the offer was expected to have already been accepted by now. It follows both a spring and subsequent summer delay. Ongoing negotiations relative to finalizing a services offer are critical to The Bahamas' total EPA agreement. As it stands now, the government's services offer, as part of the reciprocal trade pact, throws a protective blanket around a select number of industries, almost entirely insulating them from the direct competition of European counterparts. It's this projectionist stance that many are concerned precludes the European Union from signing off on the services offer. Still, other experts have suggested it's because The Bahamas is still in the early stages of the negotiations that is contributing to the holdups. In July, Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing said he expected the services offer to be finalized and accepted by the end of the summer, confirming that suggestions have been made for certain changes to the offer. Those alterations remain undisclosed to this day.

Source: The Nassau Guardian