JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, Dr. Wykeham McNeill has said that Jamaica and the wider Caribbean should adopt new and responsive regional measures to ensure survival and competitiveness.
He said that the ability of governments to control their fortunes entirely, even within the domestic economy, was steadily diminishing, while the role and significance of the international marketplace were rapidly changing.
“The revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, the CSME (Caribbean Single Market and Economy) and other Caribbean regional arrangements represent the core strategy in our efforts to meet the challenges of globalization,” he said.
Addressing members of CEPACASA (Collaboration for Ecumenical Planning and Action in the Caribbean and South America) recently, at a regional assembly in Kingston, the Minister noted that these arrangements also represented a practical response to the imperative of the new global environment and a vital strategic tool for securing Jamaica’s interests in this new milieu.
Pointing to the provisions of article 80 of the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, Dr. McNeill said the way forward would not be ad hoc or unstructured.The revised Treaty notes that: “Member states shall coordinate their trade policies with third states or groups of third states; and the community shall pursue the negotiation of external trade and economic agreements on a joint basis.”
Due to the process of globalization, the world has been undergoing rapid changes. As a result, new and powerful economic blocs are emerging – in Europe, Asia and the Western Hemisphere.
The State Minister said that the CSME was critical to the process of securing competitiveness and profitability, adding that the expansion of markets through the regional integration process was an advantage, but more importantly it meant that the region could more effectively penetrate markets outside of CARICOM.
“This taken together with improved regional governance structures, expanded programmes of functional cooperation and new institutions such as the Caribbean Court of Justice and the Caribbean Regional Organization on Standards and Quality, have enhanced our ability to establish beneficial agreements and fashion constructive economic relations in the international arena,” he noted.
Individually, CARICOM member states represent an insignificant share of global trade. The markets are often small and sometimes fragmented; susceptible to a range of natural disasters; have relatively limited access to economically viable land; small populations which limit the scope for human resource development; and have highly open economies often heavily reliant on imports.
Minister McNeill noted that the establishment of the CSME would enable CARICOM to adjust to reciprocal trade and investment within a regional market in which the region could take advantage of its geographical proximity and its deep cultural and historical linkages.
“The CSME gives this region of small states the benefit of greater critical mass through economic integration with the consequential benefits of pooled resources and an expansion of the domestic market to a market of 14 million persons ranked as mid-tier per capita GDP by the world economic forum,” he added.
The CEPACASA organized the workshop under the theme ‘Regionalization – Understanding Our Challenges, Advancing Our Cause and Strengthening Our Potentials’, as a means of facilitating and promoting the dialogue and opportunities for collaboration among the people of the region.
With just over a year to go before the full implementation of the CSME, public education is now very pivotal. Nationals need to be aware of the implications and benefits of such an arrangement, as its success is heavily dependent on an adequate level of public understanding and an acceptance by all the interested parties of what they need to contribute for its realization.
Dr. McNeill explained that with the full implementation of the CSME there would be improvement in the process of recruiting workers from across the region.
“Benefits to the economy will also come from an enhanced regional competition policy to reduce instances of unfair distribution and pricing practices,” he added.

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