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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Regional Poultry Association keen on achieving CSME goals

A team from the CARICOM Secretariat met members of the CARICOM Poultry Association (CPA) on Monday, April 9, 2018, to ascertain how the two sides could work together to achieve the goals of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The CPA’s mandate is to promote the socio-economic development of the Region through the development, growth and expansion of the Caribbean poultry industry and to create linkages.

The meeting at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, was an opportunity for the CPA to share its vision, progress and challenges in the industry. The meeting was held at a time when the Secretariat is continuing efforts to broaden the conversation with the Region’s Private Sector to optimise the latter’s output and sustainability.

With much emphasis placed on food security, rural development and the reduction of the Region’s $4B food import bill, the meeting was timely for both parties. Poultry meat accounts for more than 80 per cent of meat consumed in the Region. Most of the poultry meat and eggs consumed within CARICOM comes from CPA member organisations, with self-sufficiency hovering at about 67 per cent for meats and close to 100 per cent for eggs. The industry produces about 243 000 metric tonnes of poultry, 122 million dozen eggs per year, accounts for the employment of more than 100,000 persons and annual sales of US$660M.

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Barbados Minister suggests bigger private sector role in regional standards

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, has called on regional standards bodies to make greater use of the skills offered by the private sector.

He made this suggestion while delivering the feature address at the opening ceremony of the 32nd Meeting of the Council of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa in Rockley, Christ Church.

“You must get the private sector on board, they’re the ones who benefit the most from your work and I’m very concerned the private sector in the region is not being asked to pull their weight when it comes to giving financial and other support to the work of CROSQ and various standards bodies,” the Minister stressed.

Mr. Inniss told his audience that there was a need to be stricter with regard to the laws set in place to maintain high standards.

Read more at: Barbados Government Information Service

Saint Lucia gets CARICOM Development Fund support to jumpstart Village Tourism Initiative

The Government of Saint Lucia on Friday signed on for the 2nd cycle from the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF). Since its establishment, Saint Lucia has benefited from the CDF. For the first funding cycle, the Saint Lucia CAP (Country Assistance Programme) was valued at approximately USD $6.1 million or XCD $16.47 million in loans and grants and was designed to enhance private sector competitiveness and youth entrepreneurship.

During this second funding cycle, the CDF Board has approved two (2) projects to support initiatives that are geared to expanding Saint Lucia’s exports, which include strengthening the institutional infrastructure for trade and implementing new programmes for trade competitiveness and village tourism development.

The Village Tourism Grant in the sum of USD $120,000 (XCD $324,000) to finance technical assistance for coordination of the development of village tourism including the provision of technical advice on the establishment of the institutional framework, and for preparation of a road map and business plan for village tourism. Co-financing for the development and support to implement the revised National Export Development Strategy for Saint Lucia in the amount of USD$332,800. (Office of the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia)

CARICOM Development Fund
The CDF was established under Article 158 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas “for the purpose of providing financial or technical assistance to disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors”. It is the centre-piece of the regime to address the disparities among the Member States of CARICOM which may result from the implementation of the CSME. The Agreement Relating to the Operations of the Fund was signed in July 2008 and the CDF began operating on November, 2008. Whilst all Members of the CDF are eligible to receive financial and technical assistance support from the Fund, only the designated disadvantaged countries – the LDCs (OECS and Belize) and Guyana (as a Highly-Indebted Poor Country) received access to resources during the first contribution cycle. Under the second contribution cycle the MDCs, as well as the LDCs, will be able to access resources to address development challenges in their disadvantaged regions and sectors, once the enabling policy framework and operational procedures are agreed to by the Community. The relevant policy, procedures and implementation plan to facilitate this are currently being developed within the framework of the formulation of Regional Cohesion Policy, which the CDF has taken the lead role in preparing on behalf of the Community.