CARIFESTA a gateway to EPA – Minister Lashley

CARIFESTA_XIII-LOGO-WHITE-GLOW

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Barbados is leveraging its $6 million investment in CARIFESTA XIII against the opportunities to break into the European Union’s (EU) cultural industries market.

Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley contends the region has been “slow” in taking advantage of the opportunities offered through the EU/Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and Monday he told the media: “We are strategically trying to position our creatives to make that agreement a living document and, of course, working with our various partners in the EU and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) we want to ensure after CARIFESTA there is a strategic focus on gaining market share.”

Lashley said CARIFESTA was one of the first moves to translate the artistic talent of the Caribbean into revenue and to prepare its artistic developers for the bigger markets. To date $2.5 million of the $6 million budgeted for the Festival has been spent, he said.

Read more at: Nation News

Coconut industry benefits from CARDI project

Coconut heaven

Since the implementation of the Caribbean Coconut Industry Development Project two-and-a-half years ago, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) has made several strides in improving the local coconut industry through training as well as the establishment of new nurseries among other targeted initiatives.

The four-year project was undertaken through a partnership between CARDI and the International Trade Centre (ITC), with funding provided by the European Union. It was aimed at improving income and employment opportunities, food security, and overall competitiveness of the Caribbean coconut sector.

Participating countries in the project include Jamaica, Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, and Suriname, among others in the region.

According to CARDI country representative for Jamaica Dr Gregory Robin, Jamaica has the most organised coconut industry board in the region and so a partnership was developed with the local Coconut Industry Board, which had established a national stakeholder platform that addresses all the issues along the value chain, from production to the manufacturing of coconut water, oils and soaps.

Read more at: Jamaica Observer

 

Caribbean condiment exports heat up

Baron Foods Ltd. exports 50% of its production to over 25 countries (Photo via Spore)
Baron Foods Ltd. exports 50% of its production to over 25 countries (Photo via Spore)

From sweet preserves to spicy sauces, regional condiment agro-processers are investing in certification and standardisation in order to sustainably enter the highly developed international ethnic and gourmet export markets.

The value of the global condiment market is expected to rise to €20.29 billion by 2020, with urbanisation, higher disposable incomes, and growing interest in world cuisine increasing the demand for exotic sauces in North America and Europe. International sales of sauces and mixed condiments from Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries is less than €44 million, presenting an opportunity to harness the export and growth potential of Caribbean condiment brands and novel products.

The Caribbean’s main spice and condiment crops are hot peppers, nutmeg, mace, pimento, ginger and cinnamon, with key exports coming from Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

In the 1970s, Jamaica’s Busha Browne Company became the first regional agro-processor to export jerk seasoning (a spice mix native to Jamaica) to the US. Today the firm also exports to Australia, Canada, England and New Zealand. In fact, Jamaica recently took a giant step to support its jerk seasoning exporters’ by becoming the first English-speaking Caribbean country to register an indigenous product, ‘jerk’, under the international geographical indication system.

Read more at: Spore

CET, Rules of Origin critical to viability, competitiveness of indigenous industries – Review Consultation hears

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The protection of indigenous industries to ensure their viability and competitiveness on the global market and the harmonisation of rates across CARICOM were among the key concerns raised at a Consultation on the revision of CARICOM’s two trade instruments.

The trade and revenue instruments are the CARICOM Common External Tariff (CET) and the Rules of Origin.

At the brief opening ceremony of the one-day Consultation on 25 July, 2017, at the CARICOM Secretariat, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr.Joseph Cox called for frank discourse against the background that the CET in its current format, was not sustainable and was not serving the purpose for which it was originally intended.

He said order, structure and modernisation were necessary for the instruments to work for the Region.

Regional stakeholders at the Consultation acknowledged the importance of the CET and the RoO to the economic growth of the Region. They recommended the careful consideration of derogations of the CET on some products, as well as the implementation of a modernised and simplified version of the Rules of Origin.

Consultant, Mr. Dan Ciuriek, said that the review of the regime was to ready it for free circulation, a fully functioning CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and to be effective as a springboard into the global economy.

Listen as Mr. Bernard Black, Senior Project Officer, Customs and Trade Policy at the CARICOM Secretariat, provides some insight into the discussion and the next steps that are to be taken.