Full CSME implementation needs to be advanced in light of global trade wars – CARICOM

CARICOM Secretariat, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thursday November 22, 2018 – The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) could be used to insulate the region from the fallout of escalating global trade wars suggests the CARICOM Secretary-General.

According to the CARICOM Secretariat, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque made the suggestion as he addressed the opening of the Forty-Seventh Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic development at the Georgetown Marriott Hotel in Guyana, recently.

The budding trade wars, the continued indeterminate nature of Brexit and the threat to the global rules-based trading system all had implications for CARICOM Member States, Secretary-General LaRocque pointed out.

“They serve to emphasise that agreement on, and implementation of, our collective trade and economic policies assume even greater importance if we are to safeguard our interests in the global arena and achieve the objective of improving the lives of our citizens.

“In that regard, the most important immediate task is to advance the implementation of our own CARICOM Single Market and Economy. It has long been identified as the vehicle to drive us towards sustainable development and position us to take advantage of the opportunities in the international sphere”, the Secretary-General said.

The top regional diplomat also told delegates at the opening of the meeting that the current uncertain international trade arena emphasised the importance of agreement on and implementation of collective trade and economic policies, most importantly, advancing the implementation of the CSME.

Even though there has been progress in the regional flagship process, more needed to be done as there is a CSME implementation plan for Member States to act on, pointed out LaRocque.

“The Lead Head of Government with responsibility for the CSME, Honourable Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados and I led a mission to Haiti to hold discussions with His Excellency Jovenel Moise, President of Haiti and his cabinet and staff, on an implementation plan for Haiti’s integration to the CSME. The aim is for Haiti to put in place the requisite measures to allow for trade in goods and services commencing next year and into 2020”, the Secretary-General told delegates.

The Secretary-General also called for compliance with the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas with respect to trade and the free movement of people.

“The failure to make progress in eliminating barriers to trade has caused some to question about the utility of the work we do in this Council. I want to reiterate how important it is that we accelerate progress in the consolidation of the CSME. We must act to ensure that our constituents, the private sector and the people of the Region, are able to trade their goods and services without hindrance and to move for work or leisure. The business of the Community must not be stymied by refusal to live up to obligations”, he said.

The CSME will next be high on the agenda of the deliberations at the Special CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting to be held in Trinidad and Tobago, on 3-4 December, 2018.