OECS Trade officers hold urgent talks in Castries on preparing for withdrawal of government subsidies for export

Natasha Edwin

Castries, Saint Lucia…May 11th, 2010 – Trade officers throughout the OECS concluded urgent talks in Castries on Monday on preparing for a pending withdrawal of government subsidies for export by the end of 2015.

Experts say government subsidies for export have been used to attract foreign investment and help tremendously in employing thousands of people throughout the OECS. However, based on a World Trade Orgainsation (WTO) agreement in 2007, OECS Member States are obligated to remove the export subsidies from their legislation as of 2015.

Despite the pending restrictions, there is some flexibility where OECS Member States can continue to use subsidies after 2015 as long as these subsidies are not based solely on exports. In addition, OECS Member States can also continue to use subsidies to garner or maintain employment.

Natasha Edwin, Technical attaché at the OECS Secretariat’s Geneva Mission in Switzerland says her office will further assist OECS countries in ensuring that reformed legislation regarding government subsidies does not breech the WTO rules.

The OECS Secretariat’s Geneva Mission says governments are fully aware of the penalties for breeching the WTO rules under the 2007 decision regarding government subsidies for export: Alicia Stephen of the OECS Secretariat’s Trade Policy Unit OTPU says some Member States have already started the process towards cushioning the impact expected from the phasing out of export subsidies.

Legislative reform, Investment Policy review and Information sharing are the major components of an action plan designed by the OECS Trade Officials to facilitate preparations for the removal of government subsidies for exports from the legislation in OECS Member States by 2015.



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