OECS member states discuss ways to enhance capacity to monitor trade in cement

CASTRIES, St Lucia — The OECS Secretariat’s Trade Policy Unit is facilitating talks among member states on methods of monitoring the cement trade.

The Unit recently coordinated a video conference in order to develop an OECS position on a monitoring mechanism for the supply and demand for cement in the Caribbean Community CARICOM.

Virginia Paul
Virginia Paul

Head of the OECS Trade Policy Unit Virginia Paul said the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) agreed that such a mechanism is required in order to ensure that consumers are adequately supplied by the regional manufacturer.

“Cement is an important commodity used in construction and given the importance of the construction sector to economic development in the OECS, it was necessary for member states to agree on the data that would be required to monitor trade in cement within the region,” she said.

The TPU has confirmed that recommendations from OECS have already been presented to a meeting of CARICOM officials for consideration..

Discussions on methods of monitoring the cement trade were among three major activities which recently involved the OECS Secretariat’s Trade Policy Unit.

The unit was also part of briefings on the second phase of the CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project stakeholders in Grenada on a national plan to increase information flows on the CSME and the reform of administrative procedures.

The project also started work on the reform of laws and regulations which affect the movement of goods, capital, skills, people and the right to establish business in these countries. Work on the implementation of national work plans to award the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) started in Dominica and St Kitts/Nevis. These activities are part of the second phase of the project in which the main goal is to improve the business environment for people to take advantage of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. The Trade and Competitiveness Project is financed by the government of Canada and ends in 2014.

The OECS TPU also continues to assist member states to negotiate with Canada. Negotiations with Canada continued with discussions in July on dispute settlement and institutional issues. CARICOM officials further reviewed the outcome of that negotiating session at a meeting on 25 and 26th July in Barbados.

The TPU also supported officials who participated in a CARICOM preparatory meeting which discussed services and investment. The CARICOM-Canada Trade and Development Agreement will contain the rules which will govern trade in goods, services and agricultural products between CARICOM member states and Canada.

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