New status of ‘high income country’ has responsibilities and challenges

St. Kitts

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JANUARY 9TH 2013 (CUOPM) – The recent upgrading of St. Kitts and Nevis from a “middle-income” to a “high income” country by the United States following official statistics by the World Bank, places greater responsibilities and challenges.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says his government will pursue its continued dialogue with the Obama Administration in the United States to ensure that even though the federation has attained this particular status, that so that some of the trading privileges that are shared with other CARICOM countries with the United States of America can be preserved.

“What it means therefore is that there are greater responsibilities for us as a people because some of the privileges that we might have had as a middle income country, having moved now from middle to a high, is there are certain important expectations of us as a people. We are expected to have an increase in the quality of service that we provide and improvement in the quality of the goods that we would trade to other countries; it is expected that the service generally that we will provide for example, service to investors locally and overseas, that there would be general improvement,” said Prime Minister Douglas in response to a question during Tuesday’s weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”

“Our people have to be prepared mentally and have to be prepared professionally as well to provide the expectations and these expectations can become challenging if we are not in a state of readiness for it,” said the Prime Minister, pointing out that to a large extent, the caller’s question pertaining how and what steps are to be taken to ensure that the nation do not in any way become the sacrificial lamb. We would want to make sure that we continue the dialogue which we have started with United States government to ensure that even though we have attained this particular status, that some of the trading privileges that we’ve had and shared with other CARICOM countries with the United States of America, that these can be preserved,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Dr. Douglas is of the view that the OECS and the CARICOM Secretariats would be involved in assisting St. Kitts and Nevis in any of the negotiations.

“There is going to be implications which can be negative in impacting us, that these would be minimized or these would be completely prevented as we prepare ourselves for this new status of a high income country,” said the Prime Minister.

“In accordance with section 502(f)(2) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (the “1974 Act”) (19 U.S.C. 2462(f)(2)), I am providing notification of my intent to terminate the designation of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis (St. Kitts and Nevis) as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program,” a White House statement signed by United States President, the Hon. Barack Obama said.

The statement added: “Section 502(e) of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2462(e)) provides that if the President determines that a beneficiary developing country has become a “high-income” country, as defined by the official statistics of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (i.e., the World Bank), then the President shall terminate the designation of such country as a beneficiary developing country for purposes of the GSP, effective on January 1 of the second year following the year in which such determination is made.”

“Pursuant to section 502(e) of the 1974 Act, I have determined that it is appropriate to terminate the designation of St. Kitts and Nevis as a beneficiary developing country under the GSP program because it has become a high-income country as defined by the World Bank. Accordingly, St. Kitts and Nevis’ eligibility for trade benefits under the GSP program will end on January 1, 2014.”

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