CSMEPress ReleasesTrade


CARICOM’s Assistant Secretary-General, Mr. Byron Blake is hopeful that the Regional private sector will take full advantage of opportunities provided under Free Trade Agreements entered into between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and other countries, and groupings.

Speaking during an interview for the next edition of ‘Concerning CARICOM’, a monthly radio magazine of the Secretariat, Assistant Secretary-General, Regional Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Blake says once the arrangements have been negotiated, it is going to depend on the Regional private sector to exploit trade and investment opportunities. Mr. Blake, referring specifically to the agreement signed between CARICOM, and the Dominican Republic on 22 August, 1998, during its historic CARIFORUM confab, notes that it will be largely up to the private sector to follow-up since government’s role in the productive, and services sectors has dwindled.

Identifying one of the weaknesses with those types of arrangements in the past as the private sector’s inability, for one reason or another, to take full advantage of the possibilities, the Assistant Secretary-General points out that the sector is now being more integrally involved in the negotiation process. He was high in praise for the level of involvement of the Trinidad and Tobago private sector in negotiations with the Dominican Republic, and urges the rest of the Region to emulate this progressive move.

Addressing the key issue of the smaller economies in CARICOM, Mr. Blake says that the recent Agreement enshrines a stay of tariffs on all products imported extra-regionally by these countries until the year 2005. In effect, he observes, this gives them a slight advantage in their own markets where tariffs are a major revenue earner, and they also have the opportunity to export to the Dominican Republic. He adds that there will be a review of the operations of the Agreement in 2004 particularly with regard to those smaller economies, and then there will be a determination of what happens after that.

The Agreement entered into with the Dominican Republic is being fine-tuned by a Twelve Point Plan of Action which is to be completed within 90 days after the signing of the Agreement. Areas to be covered under the Plan of Action will include a list of goods and services to be traded, and establishment of rules of origin.

Show More
Back to top button