CARICOM Trade ministers meet in Guyana

CARICOMFlagGeorgetown, Guyana (CMC) – Trade Ministers from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will meet in Guyana on the weekend to chart the strategic direction of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED).

The traditional two-day year-end regular meeting of the COTED will be split to allow for the day-long meeting of Ministers on Friday to consider the direction the Council should pursue in the current economic environment, with particular emphasis on the prioritization of its agenda for growth and development. How the Council approaches its decision-making and the general operation of the body will also come under focus.

During the special session on Friday, Ministers are expected to consider a more structured framework for the greater involvement of the Region’s private sector, the enabling environment created by the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and boosting competitive production.

The meeting follows consistent calls by chairpersons and delegates to successive meetings of the COTED for a change in the way the Council conducted its business.

On Saturday, the Ministers will tackle the trade agenda.

Among the range of matters for consideration are the implications of the recent Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) decision in the Shanique Myrie case on Community relations; the recognition of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Economic Union in the Revised Treaty, progress on the CARICOM-Canada Trade and Development Agreement, trade in goods, and the consolidation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

COTED’s mandates are set out in detail in the Revised Treaty and cover a range of inter-related issues. Article 15 of the Revised Treaty states that COTED’s main responsibility is to promote the trade and economic development of the Community. At the top of the list of specific duties is ensuring the development and proper functioning of the CSME.

The Council has responsibility for a range of sectoral issues, including agricultural and industrial development, development of services in general, transportation, tourism, energy and natural resources, science and technology, and environmental management and sustainable development.

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