Inniss against trade war
MINISTER OF INDUSTRY Donville Inniss is not advocating a trade war with St Lucia.
Speaking after a tour of the Arawak Cement Plant, St Lucy today the Minister said cooler heads needed to prevail concerning the issue.
“The approach we’ve taken is to engage in quiet diplomacy and dialogue with our colleagues in St Lucia concerning the issue of their decision to exercise their right under article 164 of the [Revised] Treaty of Chaguaramas to adjust the rates of duties on these items upwards.
“We have gathered what statistical information we needed to gather and we have had early talks with the Ministry of Foreign Trade. What I do not want to see happen is any all-out trade war between Barbados and St Lucia or with our friends in the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States). I firmly believe these matters can be resolved in large measure by having frank talks with each other across the ocean,” he said.
Inniss said the matter would be formally discussed at the upcoming Council of Trade and Economic Development meeting in Guyana from May 6 to 10 where a sizeable Barbadian delegation should be present. However, he said they were not simply waiting until then.
“Prior to that meeting, we are having internal discussions with the affected members of the private sector as well as with the technical officers and officials of both St Lucia and Barbados. Remember that, today it is St Lucia but we don’t know who else it will be tomorrow so we have to ensure that we are able to nip these issues in the bud by having conversations and I hope that works well for us,” he said. (CA)