GENERAL >> General Comments >> Another pitch for single Caricom economy

Message started by Ras_Tyehimba on Sep 20th, 2003 at 8:55am

Title: Another pitch for single Caricom economy
Post by Ras_Tyehimba on Sep 20th, 2003 at 8:55am
Another pitch for single Caricom economy
Date: Wednesday, September 17th, 2003
Source: - Jamaica Observer / Business Reporter


Caricom must become a well-integrated and co-ordinated grouping if it
is to reap maximum benefit from the current round of global trade
negotiations, according to Dr James Mathis of the Department of
International Law, at the Amsterdam Law School.

Mathis delivered to participants at last week's Shirley Playfair
commemorative lecture, at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, a
message that has for years been stressed by some leaders of Caricom:
that as individual states, countries within the region lack effective
negotiating clout to make a difference around the negotiating table
for a new world economic order.

"But when Caricom is fully integrated, it can negotiate under one
voice, as if it was one territory, combining the population of all
member states, resulting in greater negotiating power, particularly
at the level of the WTO," stressed Mathis.

At present the countries in the region are involved in negotiations
on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) and the Cotonou Agreement(Europe), and have been
taking steps towards negotiating from a single platform.

For example, the interests of individual countries of Caricom are now
coordinated by the Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) [ ] at the FTAA negotiations, even though each member
state is represented.

But in an interview with the government's news agency, JIS News,
Mathis suggested that the integration process needed to be much
deeper for the region to fully exploit the benefits of the new world
economic order.

"I think the regional groupings that go on to become real
territories, such as Caricom, and COMESA in East Africa, and go
further to become a customs union, such as the European Union, give
them power that is equivalent to the size of the region," said Mathis.

He cited the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the
Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), as steps that he said would drive
the integration process further.

Based on its high degree of integration -- single currency, movement
of labour, and now one visa -- which was brought about by the Treaty
of Rome in the 1950s and more recently, the Treaty of Venice, the
European Union is the only grouping that is regarded as a customs
union at the WTO. This means that the member states can negotiate
under one very strong voice, given their collective population size.

At the WTO, each member of Caricom negotiates on its own, with only
four of them in a real position to do so -- Trinidad & Tobago,
Barbados, Jamaica and Haiti -- as members of WTO.[-End]

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