‘Purpose fit solutions’ needed to close CSME implementation gap

“As a region we are not where we want to be with the implementation of the CSME, and as we consider the sub items on the agenda we must do so in a manner to report and achieve progress going forward.”- Chair of COTED, the Hon. Chet Greene
As Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ministers with responsibility for trade meet in Georgetown, Guyana, calls have been made to ramp up the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The Ministers are in Georgetown for the two-day Forty-Sixth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) which opened on Wednesday at the CARICOM Secretariat. The CSME is one of the main agenda items of the Meeting.

Speaking at the opening session, both Chair of the Meeting, the  Hon Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Immigration of Antigua and Barbuda, and Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General, placed emphasis on the CSME and wanted swifter action on its implementation.

“…Article 15 section 2 (b) confers on this Council the responsibility to, “promote the development and oversee the operations of the CSME”. As a region we are not where we want to be with the implementation of the CSME, and as we consider the sub items on the agenda we must do so in a manner to report and achieve progress going forward. Certainly, the confidence of our people and our businesses within the integration process must not be shattered”, Minister Greene said.

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SG urges unity at Foreign Ministers meeting in the Bahamas

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Foreign Ministers were this morning urged to advance the objectives of the Community by leveraging their voices as one to derive maximum benefits for the Region.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, speaking in Nassau, The Bahamas, at the opening of the Twenty-First Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), said there was “ample evidence” to prove the Community benefitted when acting in concert on the international stage.

“What we do as a Community continues to make a difference. Just recently, we were successful in pressing the case of the undocumented British citizens of Caribbean descent long resident in the United Kingdom (the Windrush Generation). We have brought global attention to issues of non-communicable diseases, graduation from access to concessional financing, climate change and the vulnerability of Small States to name just a few,” Secretary-General LaRocque pointed out.

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CARICOM and Indonesia strengthen links

Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque described the presentation of credentials by Indonesia’s Ambassador as “a hallmark in relations” between the Community and Indonesia.

His Excellency Drs. Dominicus Supratikto, became the first Ambassador of Indonesia to CARICOM when he presented his letters of credence to the Secretary-General on Wednesday at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, Georgetown, Guyana. Ambassador Supratikto is based in Suriname.

Ambassador LaRocque said that with this accreditation, relations between Indonesia and CARICOM would only go from strength to strength. Both the Secretary-General and Ambassador Supratikto agreed that climate change was one area that lent itself to co-operation.

The Ambassador noted that the forming of official links allowed for more engagement between the two parties and this latest initiative was in keeping with Indonesia’s thrust to extend relations with non-traditional partners.

‘Sadness mixed with revulsion’ – CARICOM SG to Canada’s Prime Minister on Toronto tragic incident

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, has sent a message of condolence to the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Justin Trudeau, following the tragic incident in Toronto on Monday which left at least 10 people dead and several others injured.

“It is with great sadness mixed with revulsion that I, and the entire Caribbean Community, have reacted to the horror of the deadly vehicle rampage unleashed on unsuspecting, innocent persons in Toronto on 23 April, 2018”, the Secretary-General said in his message. (more…)

Harmonised procedures necessary for full economic integration – CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General tells customs officials

Harmonised approaches to conducting trade across borders in the Caribbean, and effective customs valuation, are among the steps that must be taken towards full economic integration within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox, said on Monday that harmonised laws, procedures and best practices would increase the predictability with intra-regional movement of goods under the CARICOM Single Market and within the context of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

He was at the time addressing the opening ceremony of a three-day regional workshop targetting Customs officials from across Caribbean Forum of African Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) member states. The workshop on the Single Administrative Document (SAD) and Customs Valuation, is aimed at building capacity in CARIFORUM. The sessions are being held at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

The Workshop is being facilitated by Mr. Paul Hilaire, Team Leader, and Mr. Martin Wilde, Customs expert and is part of a Project under the ACP TradeCom II Programme funded by the European Union. It has as one of its outcomes, the development of a regional SAD pursuant to Chapter 4 of the EPA, and capacity-building, which requires the promotion of regional integration, and the progressive development of systems to facilitate the electronic exchange of data among traders, customs administrators and related agencies and the implementation of a CARIFORUM SAD.

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