PLP Press Release
Monday, June 3, 2013
Monday, June 3, 2013
Guatemala City, Guatemala, June 2013 – Trade Ministers and CEOs from CARICOM and Central America have mapped a way forward for increased business and trade facilitation following public-private sector top level deliberations in Guatemala City on 1st June 2013.
The discussions were facilitated and co-chaired by the Organisation of American States and the Ministry of Economy of the Government of Guatemala. Hon. Ryan Pinder, Minister of Financial Services with responsibility for international trade participated in the discussions.
The delegates identified hindrances to business and trade between countries of CARICOM and Central America. They noted that though the respective countries were geographical neighbours, there was a lack of connectivity, the cost of doing business across the borders was prohibitively high and there was no facilitation of the movement of businesspersons between the countries.
Minister Pinder urged the region to consider a trade model based on the modern business trend of value-chain production. He proffered that there were considerable benefits to be had if countries focussed on a step in the production chain, with a trade hub being utilised to export the final product globally. He argued that The Bahamas is strategically positioned and equipped with the necessary trade logistics infrastructure, incentive regime, and preferential trading network to serve as the preeminent trading hub of this hemisphere.
Delegates concluded, through the OAS, they would propose to Governments that a concrete private-sector-driven agreement on trade facilitation be concluded within one year. The primary objective is to increase the ease of doing business between the CARICOM and Central American countries. The trade facilitation would expedite customs procedures, visas for businesspersons, air and maritime transportation and provide for a permanent consultative forum between businesspersons.
This was the third annual meeting of CEOs and Ministers of Trade of CARICOM and Central America organised by the OAS. The fourth meeting will be held next year in the Republic of Haiti. The Director of Trade & Industry, Viana Gardiner, accompanied Minister Pinder to the meeting.