Foreign Ministers from the Caribbean Community and their counterpart from the Republic of Cuba are meeting on Saturday 11 March 2017 for their fifth Ministerial Meeting in Havana.
The meeting has an agenda replete with issues of regional and global importance, including regional integration within the context of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). Critical focus is expected to be paid to issues relating to graduation of small developing states like those in CARICOM to middle income status, correspondent banking, and the 2030 sustainable development agenda.
Ambassador Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General of the Directorate of Foreign and Community Relations is leading the CARICOM Secretariat’s representation at the meeting which is also expect to discuss issues concerning crime and security in the Region
The Foreign Ministers are also expected to discuss the further strengthening of economic trade ties and cooperation between the two parties. The Tenth Meeting of the Joint Commission established under the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (TECA) between CARICOM and Cuba, recently agreed to the expansion of preferential access to each other’s market. Beer, fish and other agricultural products, and manufactured goods, have been approved for entry into the Cuban market free of duty once both sides formalise the agreement.
This weekend’s Ministerial Meeting is also expected to examine mechanisms to further strengthen the decades-long friendship and technical cooperation in areas including transportation and tourism, agriculture, health, education, culture and disaster.
CARICOM and Cuba share 44 years of formal relations. Cuba, a significant development partner, has supported the Community in building its human resource capacity due to scholarship programs offered in several areas of study, training in health and medicine, sports, agriculture and trade.