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Linking the Bahamas Supply Chain under the WCO Mercator Programme

12 abril 2018

Following the invitation from The Bahamas Customs Department (BCD), the WCO successfully conducted a World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) gap analysis with BCD from 19-23 March 2018.  The Bahamas is seeking to accede to the WTO, and BCD has a crucial role in preparing the Bahamas to do so.  This analysis is one of 26 project activities that the WCO is facilitating for BCD as part of the Trade Sector Support Program.

The Trade Sector Support Program is financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and focuses on strengthening of customs management, modernizing Customs operations, and enhancing the institutional trade platform. This WCO assignment focused primarily on the last area, trade.  In addition, the team was asked to provide feedback on Customs enforcement matters as observed during the course of this primary mission.

The WCO team conducted both pre-mission and in-country information gathering as part of the gap analysis, including researching global data sources such as the WTO and International Monetary Fund, The Bahamas government websites, and discussions with BCD senior managers, operational staff and with brokers.  The team visited BCD Headquarters, and Customs officers at Arawak Port development and the Betty K port facility, in order to discuss and observe BCD operations at these locations.

The mission resulted in a report addressing the current BCD processes and procedures vis a vis the requirements of the TFA and provided a number of recommendations to BCD for their consideration to close the existing gaps.  The forthcoming single window process that BCD looks to launch later in 2018 will likely meet several of these recommendations, providing a good platform for further modernization.

The outcome of the mission will be used to inform the remaining aspects of the Trade Sector Support Program which the WCO is already supporting under the Mercator Programme.  The TFA gap analysis can also be used by BCD to inform additional discussions in The Bahamas concerning WTO accession and the role of BCD within that process.  The WCO looks forward to the continued engagement with BCD and the IDB as part of the Trade Sector Support Program.