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State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn Senator has emphasized that with the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market, the region must vigourously continue to protect its trading interests.
Senator Franklyn, who was making his contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate yesterday (Feb.10), emphasised that while trade issues in the integration process was indeed, important, “not only should we be concerned about the development of intra-regional trade, but given our conspicuously high export ratios, we will need to vigorously protect our trading interests.”
The trading interests, he added, were against the background of several multilateral trade negotiations carried out in respect of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), the proposed Economic Partnership Agreement in the context of the European Union – Asia, Pacific and Caribbean (EU-ACP) Cotonou Convention, and most importantly, within the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
“In the case of the WTO, we will need to continue our efforts to ensure that we do not accept unbalanced multilateral agreements designed to advance the interests of the developed countries and which are foisted upon us, on the basis that they protect our interests,” the State Minister told his colleague senators.
He opined that the Caribbean region possessed a wide range of resources including petroleum, natural gas, bauxite, gold, diamond, agriculture and forestry as well as a sophisticated tourism infrastructure and human resources.
“What we need is the commitment to escape the psychological prison of a sense of separateness which has been fostered both by history and geographical circumstance,” Senator Franklyn said, adding that the CSM which was launched at the University of the West Indies Mona campus last month, where Jamaica, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad Tobago formally adopted the Single Market effective January 1, represented a step in the right direction.