[www.inewsguyana.com] – The CARICOM-Canada Trade and Development Agreement negotiations are expected to be concluded by the end of June 2014, following it expiration in December 2013.
This is according to Prime Minister of St. Vincent & the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, during the recently concluded 25th Heads of Government Intercessional Meeting.
The St. Vincent Prime Minister explained that the Heads of Government agreed to have this negotiation concluded soon because of its importance to the Caribbean people and the goods and services sectors.
Canada says it is committed to negotiating a modern trade agreement with CARICOM that will take into account differing levels of development, vulnerabilities associated with island states and trade-related capacity challenges.
“We spent a lot of time on this subject because this is important to the wellbeing of our people, our industries, for goods and services, and we are planning a number of initiatives in this regard to see how we could successfully conclude this pact in the interest of the people of the region” Dr. Gonsalves said.
Meanwhile Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett says there has to be a replacement in order for the region’s businesses to continue trade with Canada. She explained that while Guyana’s trade will not be directly affected immediately, there are long term consequences.
Caribcan permits the government of Canada to provide duty free imports of eligible products from Commonwealth Caribbean countries without being required to extend the same duty free treatment to products of any other contracting party.
Trade and economic relations between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Canada date back to the early 18th century when the British Northern Atlantic colonies exchanged fish, lumber and other staples for West Indian rum, molasses and spices.
CARICOM and Canada are currently engaged in negotiations for a trade & development agreement, which will replace the current non-reciprocal Caribbean-Canada trade agreement known as Caribcan.