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Facilitating Intra-Regional Agri-Food Trade

This Brief:

  • Informs of the recent study on Non-Tariff Measures (NTM) and Non-Tariff Barriers (nTB), and their impacts on intra-regional agri-food trade.
  • Clarifies, in a concise manner, the context of this long-standing issue and the difference between nTMs and nTBs.
  • Calls for consensus on the need for, and  type of concerted actions to be taken to ‘systematically dismantle’ as opposed to ‘eliminate’ these nTBs within CARICOM.
  • Confirms that there is precedent in the Region in eliminating nTBs.
  • Presents recommendations that should form the basis for Member states to begin the process of internalization, dialogue and action.
  • Encourages Member states to view study’s findings and recommendations, not as merely fulfilling a COTED mandate, but on the basis of its own importance with respect to facilitating intra-regional agri-food trade asamechanismtostrengtheningagriculture for a healthier future in the Region.

Key Messages:

  1. Only a relatively small percentage of CARICOM trade occurs among constituent Member States, despite long-standing historical ties and trading relationships.
  2. As a Customs Union, the CARICOM Single Market (CSM) is premised on the elimination of obstacles to trade.
  3. The WTO disciplines allow for Members to maintain non- discriminatory laws and regulations that document and ensure the health and safety of agriculture products, as well as, regulate trade. Outside of tariffs, trade may be restricted through the use of permissible NTMs, as well as WTO non- compliant NTBs.
  4. The central issue is whether Governments, in pursuit of their legitimate policy goals are restricting trade more than is necessary to achieve their objectives/goals.
  5. The confluence ofcircumstancespresentsan opportunityfor concerted action by CARICOM Member States to eliminate the remaining NTBs and ‘trade-impeding’ NTMs.



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