Gulf Daily News, Bahrain
FTA training for companies
5 November 2008
Bahraini businesses and commercial establishments are to be trained by United Nations experts on making the best use of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US.
UN resident co-ordinator and UN Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Sayed Aqa said the issue was currently being discussed with the Industry and Commerce Ministry.
"Bahrain’s businesses have not made the maximum use of the FTA signed with the US," he told the GDN. "Our study shows that there are lots of areas where they could have done better.
"The business establishments are not doing enough research on the opportunities available following the FTA deal with the US, which came into force on August 1, 2006."
A UNDP team has prepared a document on the lessons learnt from the FTA, said Mr Aqa. "This covers the inward and outward investment," he noted.
"Bahrain’s annual trade with the US has increased substantially, and a large number of new US companies have registered in Bahrain.
"Many US companies have shown interest in establishing their presence in Bahrain."
Mr Aqa said it is important for Bahraini businesses to be updated on the various opportunities brought into the country by the FTA.
"We shall also train the commercial establishments on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and regulations," he revealed.
Mr Aqa said the UNDP is also working with the Industry and Commerce Ministry on equipping the Kingdom’s industries with global standards.
"The standards will be applied in the areas of health, safety, environment and best practices," he added.
As part of this partnership, the Industry and Commerce Ministry and UNDP will jointly hold a seminar today at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre.
The seminar is entitled Bahrain international trade development through the WTO and FTAs.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro will open the seminar at 9.30am today.