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Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Honourable Professor Kenneth Hall has said that as a major contributor to the achievement of sustainable development, it was important for trade to be carried out in a fair and equitable environment.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2006 International Trade Exposition held at the Pegasus Hotel yesterday (October 10), Professor Hall said that for world trade to play an important role in development of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) the environment must “be fair, free and equitable.specifically they have insisted that trade agreements should take account of the stages of development, the size of the economies and the historical legacy of our trade relations”.
He noted that there were different interpretations about the elements of sustainable development. “Jamaica views the concept of sustainable development as having at least three pillars: economic, social, and the environmental. But this is not universally accepted and in some of the trade agreements being negotiated between our countries some of the potential trading partners, less emphasis is placed on some elements of this concept,” explained Professor Hall.
He further pointed out that CARICOM countries have had a long history of non-reciprocal trading arrangements. “Major export enter the markets of the major trading partners without duty, and in some cases at guaranteed prices without themselves providing similar conditions for imports into their markets,” the Governor-General added.
However, he said, “within the new regime of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reciprocal trade arrangements are now the standard without providing necessarily for transitional arrangements for our countries. Liberalization of tariffs and the immediate reciprocity would place these countries in a disadvantageous position that could result in undermining the economic, social and environmental components of our society.”
He added that it was becoming more evident that for trade to play its role (in development), there had to be terms and conditions that are “compatible and supportive of our efforts to obtain sustainable development within a reasonable time frame”.