OECS countries are closer towards finding common business opportunities in negotiations with Canada

Virginia Paul

OECS Release…Oct 28, 2010 – Trade experts in the OECS are upbeat about efforts towards a common Offer of Services as part of ongoing Caricom-Canada negotiations.

This follows a recent meeting in Saint Lucia (October 20-21 2010). Head of the OECS Trade Policy Unit Virginia Paul says the OECS is a step closer towards finding a common Offer of Services among other considerations under the Caricom -Canada trade negotiations: “We had the opportunity at the meeting to look at each of the sectors which were contained in the offer. Some countries said they needed a bit more time to consult with stakeholders in their respective countries and will be getting back to us to further inform the proposals contained in the schedule in November. But we were certainly able to advance with the finalization of the common Offer of Services during the meeting.”

Paul says the participation of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ECTEL) and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) added significant value to the discussions which further informed trade experts on areas that can be considered for liberalisation and potential business opportunities through the Caricom-Canada trade relations.

Paul says the finalized common services offer will be sent to OECS Member States for endorsement and then incorporated into the Caricom offer to Canada. Professional Services, Business Services and Environmental Services were among the areas explored as OECS Member Countries seek to present a common Offer of Services as part of the Caricom Canada trade agreement.

The Draft OECS Harmonized Services Schedule of Commitments was prepared in July 2009 with financial assistance from the OECS Hub and Spokes Project.

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