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CARICOM seeks Portugal’s advocacy on major concerns

As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) continues to lobby for the removal of Member States from the list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on Friday raised the issue with newly accredited Ambassador of Portugal to CARICOM His Excellency Fernando Teles Fazendeiro.

Portugal is among several European countries that have deemed some CARICOM Member States as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, even as the Member States insist they are in compliance with standards established by the Financial Action Task Force (FAFT), the Global Forum and other international bodies.

Ambassador LaRocque told the Portuguese envoy that the Community was gravely affected by the listing, as financial services were of vital economic importance to the Caribbean Community, with implications for its efforts at growth.

It would certainly be a step in the right direction if this unjust and unfair action be rescinded,” the Secretary-General said at the new Ambassador’s accreditation ceremony at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

He said CARICOM would also welcome Portugal’s advocacy on the swift implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda, ensuring sensitivity towards small states, and the provision of financing for development.

Ambassador LaRocque said CARICOM would welcome support for global efforts to implement the most ambitious possible climate change targets, particularly pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. He also called for support for CARICOM’s effort to stem the trend toward graduation of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from access to concessionary financing.

For his part, the new envoy said CARICOM’s goal for full cooperation among Member States, like the European Union, was very important. He said Portugal had always supported the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreements, and this remained for his country, the main framework for developing and strengthening ties with the Region. It was within this spirit, he said, that he would endeavour to promote the building of a more permanent relationship with CARICOM.

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