International Journal of Foreign Trade and International Business
2019, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Part A
The Bahamas’ bid for WTO membership. The last remaining non-WTO member in the Western Hemisphere
Abdul Knowles, Tim Mathias and Bruce Chen
This paper examines whether the Bahamas should join the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since 2001, The Bahamas has had a few unsuccessful attempts for accession to the WTO. In 2018, The Bahamas renewed its efforts to accede to the WTO by December 2019. Although WTO member states welcome this planned accession, it is fiercely opposed by the Bahamian populace. The conventional belief is, as a small developing nation, The Bahamas stands to lose more from a WTO accession. Opponents also argue accession to the WTO will hurt tourism, The Bahamas’ main economic sector, and harm small business owners (SBOs). In addition, a WTO accession would devalue the Bahamian dollar (BSD), currently on par with the USD and hurt economic development. Survey results for this research revealed the Bahamian opposition to The Bahamas’ accession to the WTO stemmed from misconceptions and persons lacking a general knowledge about the WTO. After WTO accession, negative changes to the tourism sector will be minimal. Due to foreseeable benefits to the tourism sector, and the national development goals, this paper suggests The Bahamas continue its effort to accede to the WTO. However, its intention to join the WTO by December 2019 should be delayed. The Bahamas government should continue its investment in educating the Bahamian public about this trade body and, including its endeavor to join and negotiations with the WTO.