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Barbados Today – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) took a step closer towards the full implementation of the much talked about Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the CARICOM Secretariat and the recently-established CARICOM Private Sector Organisation (CPSO).
Secretary General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque explained how the CPSO came to be saying: “The Revised Treaty of Chaguramas provides a legal and administrative framework to create the Single Market and Economy, but stakeholders will make it a reality, the private sector will take advantage of it once we give them the means to do so, and the free movement of workers involves the labour force.
“However, we needed an arrangement of inclusion with the private sector for CSME to work. We have had “false starts” in the past, but in December 2018 at a special meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, as we reviewed the status of the CSME, we decided we needed to establish a formal arrangement for engagement with the private sector with labour and civil society.
“I want to credit Barbados’ Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, the lead head of Government for CSME and Gervase Warner, the CEO of Massy and head of the CPSO, and his colleagues who took up the challenge shortly after that.”
Ambassador LaRocque noted that the CPSO has already begun work on a number of important aspects of the CSME. “The CPSO is on the committee on mergers and acquisitions, E-commerce, front of label packaging, the Common External Tariff and rules of origin committee; the sub-committee on regional food security and another committee on regional trade facilitation. We also challenged the CPSO to look at the region’s significant food import bill, and they submitted a document outlining opportunities for investment, which we need to “tease out” and see whether we can make it into a plan of action. Beyond that, the CPSO submitted a risk assessment on how to re-open economies at this time which went out to all CARICOM Member States.”
In his address, Head of the CPSO, Gervase Warner, outlined the provisions of the MOU, and stressed that it was ‘uncontroversial’ in nature.
“The MOU has 12 articles: Article 1 states its objectives; Article 2 the scope of cooperation; Article 3, the principles reinforcing cooperation; Article 4 deals with participation of members: Article 5 the obligations of CARICOM; Article 6, the obligations of CPSO to work with Member States and labour to fully implement the CSME; Article 7 deals with the establishment of the Joint Technical Team; Article 8 covers working groups, while the last four cover amendment confidentiality, entry and dispute resolution.
“The text is uncontroversial, but it is important that the parties and the representatives who will implement it are proficient in the new rules established if we are to avoid any unnecessary differences in working together. We are confident that the goodwill engendered in getting this MOU done sets us on the path of accelerated development for our region, and the goal of full implementation of the CSME.”