(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana – Thursday, 4 May 2023): The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) must transform its trade policy to drive economic growth and sustainable development. CARICOM’s Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on External Negotiations (PMSC-EN) is calling for enhanced use of data, analysis and consultations to support the formulation of the Community’s trade policy. The PMSC-EN, chaired by Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica, met recently and stressed the importance of research and strategic engagement with the private sector in this push for a transformational trade agenda.
The Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee called for work to be done to update existing bilateral trade agreements with Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba and the Dominican Republic to meet CARICOM’s strategic objectives. These updates should make these agreements more supportive of the needs of the Region’s producers and exporters and aligned with the Region’s modern development priorities. The Heads further agreed to more closely and continuously evaluate the Community’s ability to penetrate and expand in its external markets.
The Heads committed the Community to more frequent and sustained engagement with these hemispheric trade partners through the Joint Institutions under the respective trade agreements. These engagements will deliver trade and economic cooperation initiatives to improve bilateral trade and strengthen CARICOM’s trade performance.
The Sub-Committee also decided that the Community will use more strategically its Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIC) with the United States of America (USA), the Community’s largest trading partner. A meeting of the TIC will be held in the latter part of 2023.
The PMSC-EN affirmed the Community’s negotiating priorities ahead of the Thirteenth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference scheduled for February 2024.
The PMSC-EN is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the external trade and economic negotiations of the Community. In addition to the Prime Minister of Jamaica, other core members of the Sub-Committee, are the Heads of Government of Barbados, Belize, Guyana and Saint Lucia. Participation is open to other CARICOM Heads of Government.