More opportunities provided for private sector as CARICOM, Cuba expand duty-free market access

 

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The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Cuba on Thursday signed the Second Protocol to an Agreement that will expand access to each other’s markets for goods.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, and Cuban Ambassador to CARICOM, His Excellency Julio Cesar Gonzalez Marchante, signed the Second Protocol to the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between CARICOM and Cuba during the opening of the 45th Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in Georgetown, Guyana.

Under the Second Protocol, Cuba will expand duty free access to more than 320 items including meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, beer, rum, cement, soap and apparel. CARICOM will grant duty free access to some 50 items, including fish, pharmaceutical products, fertilisers and articles of iron and steel. The Community will also offer differentiated treatment on 22 items. The differentiated treatment includes phased reduction of duty by Most Developed Countries in CARICOM.

The CARICOM Secretary-General said that signing the Second Protocol marked a further deepening of the trade and economic relations between CARICOM and Cuba and provided further opportunities for the Region’s private sector.

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Major Financial Institutions willing to reassess development financing policy

(From left) Amb. Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat; His Excellency Javier Maria Carbajosa, Plenipotentiary Representative of Spain to CARICOM; and Amb. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General
(From left) Amb. Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat; His Excellency Javier Maria Carbajosa, Plenipotentiary Representative of Spain to CARICOM; and Amb. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General

International Financial Institutions (IFIs) including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are now willing to reassess the policy of GDP per capita attached to concessionary development financing.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said that this was a major result of his recent discussions in Washington with the President of the World Bank and the Executive Director of the IMF.

Speaking on Tuesday, 17 October, at the accreditation ceremony of the new Ambassador of Spain to CARICOM, His Excellency Javier Carbajosa Sanchez, the Secretary-General said the Banks were willing to work with CARICOM, but they cautioned that a final decision resided with the countries which sat on the boards.

CARICOM has been lobbying consistently for a reversal of the policy of graduation which sees some Member States denied access to concessionary development financing. Their graduation to middle income status, with the use of GDP per capita as a major criterion, has attracted commercial rates for development loans. This situation increases already high debt burdens in Member States.

“That debt burden was significantly incurred by reconstruction after major climatic events in a Region designated as the most natural disaster-prone in the world,” Secretary-General LaRocque said.

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COMMUNIQUE – 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government

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CARICOM Heads - Official photo
Heads of Government and Heads of Delegation at the 28th CARICOM Inter-Sessional Meeting, Georgetown Guyana, 16-17 February 2017.

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH

INTER-SESSIONAL MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF

GOVERNMENT OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY

16–17 FEBRUARY 2017, GEORGETOWN, GUYANA

Extract:

REGIONAL SECURITY

“Heads of Government expressed grave concern at the level of crime in the Community and resolved to increase their efforts to curb the scourge, including greater focus on the social determinants of crime, especially among the youth.

 In that regard, they committed to ensure their Attorneys-General and Ministers responsible for Legal Affairs take action to finalise Agreements which are essential to the implementation of the Regional Crime and Security Agenda.

Heads of Government also committed to take full advantage of opportunities for capacity-building to address existing and emerging threats, including those related to Cybersecurity and Cybercrime, Crime Prevention and Drug Demand Reduction.”

Read the full Communique: COMMUNIQUE_28th_Inter-Sessional

 

Stirring opening to CARICOM Inter-Sessional – Video highlights

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The Twenty-Eighth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) opened Thursday morning at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana.

Speakers at the Opening included CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque,  Prime Minister of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, and CARICOM Chairman and President of Guyana, HE David Granger.

More in this video report: