Barbados committed to facilitating trade in goods and services
IN SPITE OF the current challenging economic environment, the Government of Barbados has not sought to impose any restrictions which would affect market access and the facilitation of the trade in goods and services in and out of the country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, made this declaration today, at the opening of a World Trade Organisation Regional Workshop on Market Access and Trade Facilitation for Caribbean Countries, which was held at the Hilton Barbados.
“Instead, we have focused our efforts on ensuring that our strategic policies remain consistent with the requirements of a rapidly-changing environment. These strategic efforts will continue to involve playing an active role in deliberations at the regional and multilateral levels,” she explained.
Senator McClean maintained that Barbados was very aware of the importance of market access and trade facilitation at the multilateral, regional and national levels.
“The multilateral trading system, with its single undertaking; its principles of non-discrimination and dispute settlement mechanism; attempts to create a trading environment which is fair and allows access to markets for all parties who abide by these rules;… we in CARICOM are all committed to this system,” she added.
The Minister also disclosed that Barbados was recently able to submit its Category A Commitments under the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organisation, which contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between Customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and compliance issues.
Speaking in respect of CARICOM, Senator McClean urged each member state to be mindful of the potential or real impact on other member territories, when taking decisions or implementing measures which could impact on everyday trade.
“We must never forget that this Community is built on the principle that we are our brothers and sisters keepers, and we need to work collectively in order to advance our individual and collective development and economic goals.
“The display of this unity is also priority in instances where access to extra-regional markets is compromised, especially under unfair circumstances. When one or two member states are threatened, we are all threatened. We have seen the success of collective campaigns in instances such as the Air Passenger Duty. However, there are other critical issues affecting us where we are yet to come to a unified position. This must not be allowed to continue. As the old adage states, united we stand; divided we fall,” she stressed.
She also had this advice for delegates at the meeting: “The Caribbean region is abounding with opportunities and potential; we need to harness it. We need to capitalise on our unique position and location in order to maximise opportunities in the area of trade facilitation and market access, notwithstanding the challenges posed by transportation constraints.”
The workshop, which is being attended by representatives from CARICOM member states, ends on Thursday, May 21. (BGIS)