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More effort needed to remove existing trade barriers – CARICOM’s Deputy Secretary-General

More effort needed to remove existing trade barriers – CARICOM’s Deputy Secretary-General
CARICOM Deputy Secretary-General, Dr. Armstrong Alexis

Deputy Secretary-General of CARICOM, Dr Armstrong Alexis, has said that to remove existing trade barriers, the CARICOM Member States must present a concrete effort.

Trade barriers include any regulation or policy that restricts trade, especially tariffs, quotas, and licences, among other things.

Speaking during an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) on the sidelines of the business session at the 46th Heads of Government Meeting on Monday, Dr Alexis emphasised the need for implementation alongside policy.

“Policy alone wouldn’t cut it, if there is not an appetite at the operational level to make it happen. We deal with sovereign states,” he explained.

These barriers greatly hinder the region’s efforts to foster food security, he noted.

The Deputy Secretary-General remarks echo that of several other regional leaders in the resounding plea to foster greater regional collaboration and remove hindrances.

In his address at the opening ceremony for the heads of government meeting on Sunday, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali passionately advocated for citizens to ‘pressure’ their leaders to address trade barriers, to allow for the free movement of goods within the CARICOM region.

Dr Alexis added that the countries must engage with each other to ensure that these policies are maintained.

In this regard, he noted that all CARICOM state heads are committed to removing these barriers.

“Even when there is a policy, there must be engagement at the country level to ensure those policies apply in the way business is conducted. That is what we are trying to do, and despite the fact that we face some obstacles, the heads of government and technical people within the respective ministries across the Caribbean are all committed to removing barriers, albeit we might argue that it sometimes takes too long,” he pointed out.

To realise its regional food security agenda, the community is already making headway and crafting a series of partnerships to strengthen efforts.

An agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on a Regional Sustainable Resilient Project is in its final stages, and the Canadian government is being engaged in the implementation of projects to promote the involvement of youth and women in innovative agriculture. (Department of Public Information Press Release)