CARICOM to begin consultations on CSME next month

DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, May 16, 2018 

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will begin stakeholder consultations on the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), in June.

Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said the national and regional consultations will inform the ongoing review of the CSME. The Caribbean’s top diplomat stated, “This will examine the CSME and its implementation as currently configured and identify what is necessary to make it more effective and utilised” at the opening of the 46th Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) meeting today, at the CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Georgetown.

A CSME review was completed last year and Heads of Government have approved an ‘Implementation Plan’ for outstanding issues – relating to commitments and deadlines – which will be published shortly, Ambassador LaRocque explained.

Advancing the CSME features heavily on the agenda of the COTED meeting of CARICOM Ministers of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Immigration. The meeting also reviewed the Common External Tariff (CET).

Chairman of COTED and Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Immigration, E.P. Chet Green, described this as crucial to the region’s rapidly changing trade environment.

“As we take stock of the consultancy, let us also be reminded of the many requests for suspensions approved or denied by this Council over the years and the requests for changes to the Rules of Origin. The Council must remain focused on the review because of the likely changes that could be made to the CET. All Member States must remain engaged on the status of the consultancy”, Minister Green said.

Minister Green also charged his colleagues to take stock of the areas of implementations that have been stagnated and devise solutions to achieve sustained progress.

The CSME is considered the vehicle for achieving sustainable economic growth and development within CARICOM. The Single Market came into effect in 2006 but the Community has been unable to make the Single Economy operational. COTED is tasked with overseeing the functioning of the CSME.

Other deliberations at the COTED meeting included future trade with the United Kingdom post Brexit and the second five-year review of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA.

By Tiffny Rhodius

Images courtesy of Jameel Mohammed