BarbadosCSMEJamaicaPress Releases

CSME and External Negotiations Link to be Discussed in Jamaica

CHRIST CHURCH, BARBADOS – Regional Prime Ministers are expected to convene in the inaugural Joint Meeting of the Prime Ministerial Sub-committee on External Trade Negotiations and CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) on February 5-6 2007 in Montego Bay Jamaica. The agenda will be informed in part by the discussions of the preceding 20th Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development on matters related to external negotiations. The Prime Ministers will therefore take the opportunity to consider the deliberations of the COTED on outstanding issues related the EPA negotiations which are now in their final stage, the CARICOM strategy in light of the resumption of the Doha Round, and current issues related to Regional bilateral negotiations. The remit of the Joint Meeting will also include discussions on the correlation between the Regional economic integration process and external trade negotiating positions. The CSME is based upon the integration of national markets to facilitate the sharing of economic resources in order build critical mass in a Region otherwise severely limited by relatively small size, limited human, financial and physical resources and capacity. The CSME in this context operates as the platform from which regional economies can be repositioned in an increasingly liberalized trade environment. The state of play of the development of the CSME therefore directly impacts on the way that the Region is able to harmonise external trade negotiating strategies. As CRNM Director General Ambassador Richard Bernal has noted “It is critically important to synchronise the completion of the CSME with the WTO and EPA negotiations to ensure that the Region is not negotiating externally issues not fully resolved in the integration process.”

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