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News Article
Tariff equality under WTO for Freeport firms

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

Freeport-manufactured products must attract the same tariffs as rival foreign-produced ones under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules before they can enter other Bahamian islands, this nation's chief trade negotiator said yesterday, adding that the Bahamas "can really take advantage" of the Port area's 'special status' under a rules-based trading regime.

Raymond Winder, Deloitte & Touche (Bahamas) managing partner and the Bahamas' chief negotiator in the WTO accession process, told Tribune Business that while Freeport and its 'free trade zone' status could exist under the WTO's global rules-based trading mechani ...

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News Article
Distributor:Misunderstanding by firms on Similac recall

By GENEA NOEL
Freeport News Reporter
Several stores in New Providence have insisted that all Similac products made by Abbott Labs be removed from their shelves despite confirmation that only certain Similac-branded products were affected by the recent recall.
The recall was made following an internal quality review by the company, which detected the remote possibility of the presence of a small common beetle in the product produced in one production area in a single manufacturing facility.
According to officials from the Nassau Agencies Limited, local distributors for Similac, since the recall of some brands of the product last week, major stores have been requesting that their entire supply be re ...

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News Article
1 in 10 reverse mergers of Chinese firms on US stock exchanges fraudulent

At
least 10% of Chinese companies that have gone public on stock
exchanges in the United States are engaged in fraud. The deals often

involve establishing offshore holding companies in the British Virgin
Islands, Cayman Islands, Samoa or another offshore jurisdiction in
order to conceal illegal conduct.

The startling claim, following extensive research, was made to OffshoreAlert by Sharesleuth.com, an investigative news web-site controlled by well-known American businessman Mark Cuban.

"Upwards of 400 Chinese companies have gone public on U.S. exchanges through reverse mergers," says Chris Carey, Editor and President of Sharesleuth.com. "We've identified at least 40 deals - or fully 10 percent - that have involved some degree of fraud or deception...

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News Article
Int'l firms hit with 3.5 spike in cost of remitting profits
Int'l firms hit with 3.5 spike in cost of remitting profits

BTC, Commonwealth Brewery and international banks operating Bahamian subsidiaries are among those companies who will be subject to a 3.5 percent increase in the cost of remitting profits out of the country as a result of a new tax on the repatriation of profits imposed by the government.

Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis yesterday clarified an amendment to the Stamp Act highlighted by Guardian Business on Friday, which had caused considerable concern among practitioners in the financial, legal and real estate sectors who feared their transactions would be impacted...

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News Article
Turnquest reveals firms behind 7M CCTV system

The downtown area and other criminal hot spots will soon be monitored under closed circuit televisions (CCTV), as the government is now in final negotiations with the companies that will implement the system.
National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest has announced Lowe's Alarm and its American partner, Aries, as the companies that were chosen.
He revealed that the government is presently in negotiations with the company to determine the terms and conditions of the contract.
"We've been in intense negotiations for the past week. It started with nine companies and now it's down to one. The tendering process began late last year," according to Turnquest.
Earlier this month Deputy Police Commissioner Quinn McCartney confirmed to Guardian Business that the CCTV's will be operated under a joint venture between a Bahamian-based company and an international partner.
However, he remained tight-lipped concerning the parties involved.
Based on the magnitude of the project, McCartney said it was necessary for it to be a joint initiative, adding that he's satisfied with the chosen companies.
Now that the companies have been revealed, Turnquest noted that he was pleased with the manner in which the tendering process was carried out, calling it open and transparent.
In addition to forming a national committee, the government spent thousands of dollars to hire an American-based consultant to assist them with the bidding documents.
"We enlisted the expertise of a consultant from Hudson Sterling Ltd. They conducted an analysis of the bids and ensured that the candidates were properly qualified to do so. Recommendations were then laid out to the government," he explained.
Turnquest said the implementation of the CCTV network will greatly assist police in their plans for crime fighting in 2012 and beyond.
"The multimillion-dollar CCTV network is expected to be more than a crime prevention tool; it is intended to also act as a deterrent to criminals and would-be criminals," Turnquest noted.
McCartney revealed that initially most of the cameras will be placed throughout the downtown area, including the courts.
"Cameras will be strategically placed throughout downtown, as it is not only a hot spot for tourists but also economic activity. However, we are not just limiting it to that area. There will be some placed in some of the areas around the island that continue to give us problems in our crime fighting efforts," McCartney said.
McCartney told Guardian Business that the estimated $7 million initiative has been in the pipeline for just over two years.
The project is expected to be fully operational by mid-2012.

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News Article
SHIPPING FIRMS SET TO LEAVE BAY STREET BY MARCH

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

MOST, if not all, shipping companies should be off Bay Street by the end of March 2012, one of the key players in the $70 million Arawak Cay port development told Tribune Business yesterday.

Betty K Agencies president, Jack Sands, said: "By the end of March, I would say most if not all shippers should be off Bay Street."

Regarding a new tariff structure for shipping containers arriving in the Bahamas, with many in the business community speculating that fees would increase as a result of the move to Arawak Cay, Mr Sands told Tribune Business: "I have heard of no increases, but I haven't seen their & ...

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News Article
OECD 'WRONG' FOR ACCOUNTS PRESSURE ON DOMESTIC FIRMS

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

A PLP MP yesterday suggested the Government had temporarily withdrawn three Bills for fear that in complying with the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development's (OECD) record-keeping demands they would create a bureaucratic and 'red tape' nightmare for domestic Bahamian businesses.

Ryan Pinder, a tax attorney and the current representative for Elizabeth, told Tribune Business that the package of company-related legislative amendments recently tabled in the Senate was more notable for what it did not contain, namely changes to the Companies Act, General Partnership Act and Business Licence Act.

The Bills currently before the ...

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News Article
FIRMS PREPARE AS LAST STORM SIMILAR TO IRENE COST 352M

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

MAJOR Bahamas-based companies yesterday activated their disaster preparedness/Business Continuity Plans, the last storm of similar magnitude and track to Hurricane Irene having cost this nation's economy an estimated $351.5 million in loss and damage.

A little-noticed Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report from 2009, dealing with an emergency loan facility granted to the Bahamas to help it deal with the impact from Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004, noted that the Bahamas suffered economic damage/loss equivalent to 7 per cent of its per annum gross domestic product (GDP).

Given that Hurricane Frances, a Category 4 storm with maximum wi ...

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News Article
Freeport firms 'under attack' on bond letters

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

Freeport businesses have "grave concerns" and feel "under attack" over demands that they be in good-standing with the National Insurance Board (NIB) before their 'over-the-counter' bond letters are renewed, the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce's president yesterday telling Tribune Business that Customs was even ignoring payment arrangements worked out with NIB.

K. Peter Turnquest explained to this newspaper that even though Freeport companies may have worked out payments plans with NIB to bring their contributions current, unless their balance was zero and up-to-date, their bond letters were not being renewed for 2011.

"It ...

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News Article
Global firms benefitting from Festival in the Workplace

Ringplay singing and dancing are not frequent features at conferences dedicated to improving workplace culture, but are not out of place at the fourth Festival in the Workplace (FITW) conference being held at the British Colonial Hilton from November 15 - 17.
Festival in the Workplace defines itself as "a transformation process that stimulates people to become their most creative, productive and passionate selves." FITW focuses on using experiences and lessons learned from the arts and festivals such as Junkanoo to create a culture where employees experience joy, meaning and fulfilment to help the organization and individuals reach their goals.
"It is good to see that this was app ...

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