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CARIB | Dec 10, 2020

COTED adopts ‘Made in CARICOM’ promotional initiative

/ Our Today

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Initiative seeks to drive local production and exploit business opportunities

Joseph Cox,  assistant secretary-general for trade and economic integration. (Photo: CARICOM.org)

The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), the trading and development arm of CARICOM, has adopted a proposal put on the table at its recently concluded meeting to develop a ‘Made in CARICOM’ promotional initiative.

The ‘Made in CARICOM’ initiative seeks to drive local production while capitalising on opportunities on trading and business development presented by the global pandemic. Trade ministers at their COTED meeting, under the chairmanship of Guyana’s minister of tourism industry and commerce, Oneidge Walrond, unanimously endorsed the ‘Made in CARICOM’ proposal.

Oneidge Walrond, Guyana’s minister of tourism industry and commerce, chaired the COTED meeting.

The promotional initiative also won the support of CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration Joseph Cox, who said that the promotional campaign would have the effect of driving support to regionally produced items at the national level. Explaining that there were changes in consumer tastes and spending as a result of the disruptions in trade caused by the pandemic, Cox argued that this has created new markets and new dynamics that regional businesses can exploit.

According to Cox, “there is considerable opportunity for regional suppliers to step up and reorient their business models and rise to the challenges and the opportunities that emanate from the COVID-19 pandemic”.

During their two-day meeting, CARICOM trade ministers discussed macro-economic responses to the pandemic such as tax reform, the re-introduction of growth resilience, countering supply chain disruptions and the restoration of fiscal discipline.

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

With the shift of businesses onto the digital platform in the COVID-19 environment, Cox pointed to the necessity for digital transformation, since it was the new frontier for the Caribbean region and its development. The discussions at COTED on digital transformation ranged from joint procurement of ICT equipment to age limits on equipment.

The CARICOM trade ministers also discussed value added tax holidays and issues associated with bandwidth. There were varying responses to the proposals, some of which will necessitate further discussions at the national level.

The ministers discussed the Multilateral Air Services Agreement, which formally came into force in August 2020 to liberalise the regional air transport sector.

Irwin Larocque, CARICOM secretary general. (Photo: CARICOM.org)

MOU SIGNED TO BRING IN NEW CARICOM INSTITUTION

As CARICOM forges ahead with the Single Market and Economy (CSME), CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the CARICOM Private Sector Organization Inc. (CPSO). The MOU outlines areas of cooperation towards the full implementation of the CSME, solidifying that the private sector is a crucial partner to positively contribute to the CSME regime for the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital.

The CPSO is the latest Associate Institution of CARICOM, having been so designated on October 29, 2020. Cox pointed out that CPSO status is recognition of the need for more structured engagement between the Community and the private sector and labour to achieve economic development and full realisation of regional integration.

The Organization attended and actively participated in the COTED Meeting. 

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