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Consultation on the CARICOM Strategy for Regional Implementation of the World Trade

Posted in: Press Releases by admin | 07 October 2016 | 4112

    The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, with the support of the World Bank Group (WBG) is convening a Consultation on the CARICOM  Strategy for Regional Implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). The Meeting, intended for CARICOM State Officials with responsibility for WTO Trade Facilitation, will take place in Bridgetown, Barbados on 10-12 October, 2016, and is funded by the WBG.

    The Consultation will facilitate the presentation and discussion of a draft regional strategy and proposed regional approaches to implementing the TFA, which were prepared with the assistance of the WBG. Subsequent to the completion of its review at the Consultation, the draft strategy and regional approaches will be submitted to the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) for approval. It is anticipated that the draft strategy, amongst other things, will identify regional priorities and cross cutting technical assistance and capacity building needs which merit the adoption of a harmonized regional approach to implementing the TFA.

    As was agreed by the COTED, the adoption of a coordinated regional approach to implementing the TFA to the extent possible is considered important to minimizing costs that will likely be incurred by the CARICOM Member States during implementation of their substantive obligations under the TFA. Notwithstanding the costs of implementation, the WTO TFA is regarded as highly beneficial and important to the sustainable development of CARICOM Member States. The TFA emerged as part of the ‘Bali Package’ of decisions that arose from the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Bali in December 2013. The Agreement, which contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, is designed to induce a significant reduction in global trade costs. By so doing, developing countries, such as those of the CARICOM Region, will have improved chances of diversifying and increasing their exports to international markets. Further, the reduction of incurred trade costs could expand considerably prospects for CARICOM States to participate in global value chains and to extract benefits from that participation. 

    The implementation of the TFA and subsequent multilateral application of its potential benefits are inextricably linked to its ratification by two thirds of the WTO membership, and resultant entry into force. To date, 94 WTO Members, including seven CARICOM countries, have ratified the Agreement. It is anticipated, however, that the ratification threshold necessary to effect entry into force will be achieved by the end of 2016.