COTEDPress Releases


The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), will convene its next meeting 5-7 February, 1998 in Jamaica.

The new Ministerial body which replaces the longstanding Common Market Council, will address matters relating to the revision of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, the implementation of other measures towards achieving a CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and External Trade and Economic Relations.

The Council will deliberate on the revision of the Treaty of Chaguaramas in the areas of Trade, Industry and Agriculture, and the establishment of a suitable scheme for disadvantaged countries, and sectors. The recommendations from the customs and legal officials for harmonising the Customs Laws in CARICOM will also be considered.

Also up for discussion on the three-part agenda are matters relating to the Common External Tariff (CET), especially the status of implementation of the third and final phases as well as the implementation of a new CET structure.

The last meeting of COTED had agreed to align and implement by 1 January this year, the CET with the international Commodity Classification and Coding System which mainly gives numerical value to identify certain commodities or groups of commodities which are traded.

The final phase of implementation of the plan to reduce the CET, agreed to by Heads of Government in 1992, stipulates that the rates on certain imported items be reduced to a maximum of 20 percent.

In the area of External Trade and Economic Relations, COTED will examine the preparations that are being made for trade negotiations with Central America, the Dominican Republic, and the Andean Community.

Delegations attending the COTED will also look at the status of preparations for negotiating a programme for entry into the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and developments within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that are of concern to the Community.

The Meeting will review proposals for the Restructuring of the Common Market Standards Council, and will determine the continuation of a trade restriction arrangement through which the Council allows the Less Developed Countries in the Region to restrict entry of some items from the More Developed Countries.

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