CARICOM Welcomes Trade/Education Assistance From Canada


Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding emerged from the meeting between CARICOM and the Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, with the news that trade assistance to prepare for the free trade agreement was forthcoming.
“I indicated the need for the free trade arrangement with Canada to be asymmetrical. We are not able to give as much and within the same timeline that Canada can give. We are going to need a longer adjustment period for liberalisation, similar to what was negotiated with the European Union. He has indicated that that is something the Canadians are prepared to discuss with us,” Prime Minister Golding said.
The Prime Minister delivered a presentation on behalf of the CARICOM group requesting that the free trade arrangements must give consideration to the disparity in resources between the Caribbean states and Canada.
Mr. Golding said, “The concern that we have is that it must include a development dimension because we are not in a position to trade as equal partners with countries like Canada; and therefore built into that trade agreement must be significant levels of assistance in capacity building in improving our competitiveness.”
He also hailed the decision by Prime Minister Harper to increase the number of tertiary scholarships to the region to 1600, ten per cent of which are reserved for the Caribbean. Prime Minister Golding will be welcoming Prime Minister Harper to Jamaica tomorrow evening (April 19) for a two-day working visit.
The news emerged from a meeting this morning (April 18) between leaders of the regional body and Canada in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Latin American heads are in the twin island nation for the 5th Summit of the Americas.
For more information on the Summit, visit http://www.ctntworld.com/site/fifthsummit/http://www.fifthsummitoftheamericas.org/photogallery.aspx

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