(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown,
Guyana) The Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Ministerial Council for Trade and Economic
Development (COTED) has given its support to a
proposal for Haiti to have non-reciprocal access to
the Community’s markets for some goods for a period
of three years.
The COTED meeting ended in Georgetown on Friday
and Chair of the two-day Meeting, Senator the
Honourable Joanne Massiah, Minister of State in the
Ministry of Legal Affairs, Antigua and Barbuda,
lauded the magnanimous gesture of Member States.
Haiti, which was represented at the Meeting, has
drawn up a list of the products for which it is
seeking non-reciprocal access. Member States have a
short period within which they will review and
provide their responses to the CARICOM Secretariat.
Senator Massiah expressed optimism that
stakeholders in Member States also would lend
support to the proposal which she said would go a
long way to boost Haiti’s trade position in
particular, and its recovery in general. Prior to
the earthquake, Haiti had been taking steps to put
the necessary arrangements in place to begin
participation in the Trade in Goods Regime of the
CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Among the other highlights of the Meeting,
Senator Massiah said, were discussions on the review
of the rules of procedures for COTED. The rules of
procedure had an impact on how the Council did
business, she pointed out, and made reference to the
litigation the Community faced recently. The review
is being done against the backdrop of the Caribbean
Court of Justice (CCJ) decision in the case brought
by TCL against the Community, as well as the recent
legal action being brought against the Community by
Caribbean Flour Mills.
The COTED Chair also referred to the
deliberations on the Community’s external trade
agenda which included the status of the CARICOM-Canada
negotiations for a Trade and Development Agreement.
Two rounds of negotiations have been held and a
third will be held later this year.
Updates were also provided on the CARICOM Trade
Ministers Mission to the United States, as well as
on the implementation of the Economic Partnership
The formidable agenda of the two-day Meeting
included discussions on the CSME, with specific
reference to a study to assess the factors and
circumstances that constrained the full
participation of the Organisation of Eastern
Caribbean States (CSME) and Belize in the CSME. The
study was commissioned to provide recommendations on
the way forward for the full Integration of the OECS
and Belize into the CSME.
Discussions at the meeting also focused on the
Regional Integration Policy on Public Procurement in
the Caribbean, and on the operationalisation of the
Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency
(CAHFSA) which was launched earlier this year in
Ministers also received an update on the 9th and
10th European Development Fund Caribbean Regional
Indicative Programme (CRIP).