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The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED-Trade), will hold its inaugural meeting in Georgetown, Guyana on September 11, 1997. This Council came into being with the coming into force of Protocol I and replaces the longstanding Common Market Council.

During this week’s Meeting, Ministers responsible for Trade will review the implementation of the provisions of Protocol I and the status of Protocol II, and will discuss the programme for completion of the remaining Protocols, and the finalisation of the process for revising the Treaty of Chaguaramas.

The Meeting will review in particular progress which has been made with respect to a scheme for disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors. The preparatory work on the proposals was done by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CARIBBEAN Export) and will be examined later this year by a working group of Member States created by the Conference of Heads of Government in July 1996.

The Ministers of Trade will continue discussion on the Common External Tariff (CET) and the Rules of Origin. The main issue here is the implementation from January 1, 1998 of Phase IV of the programme to reduce under the CET and the alignment of the CET with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Harmonised Commodity Classification and Coding System (HS).

The Meeting will be informed of the recent developments in relation to the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). This Meeting of COTED will also receive a report on the outcome of the negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement with selected countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. The Ministers will discuss and decide on the requirement of follow-up actions on this agenda item.

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