Addressing the Forty-Eighth Meeting of the COTED at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, LaRocque said that Implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy cannot be a shifting target. "We cannot come to meeting after meeting and agree to a Plan and not carry forward the work," he lamented.
"An urgency to complete the agreed measures and make the CSME a lived reality for our citizens, has been the hallmark of the recent discussions among our Heads of Government. As the Council tasked under the Revised Treaty to “promote the development and oversee the operation of the CSME” you have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that we accomplish the goals in that regard," he said.
The CARICOM Secretary General reminded the Ministers that "In a little over two months our Heads of Government will be expecting to receive a report card that indicates that the mandates laid out last July in Montego Bay; in Port-of-Spain last December; and in Frigate Bay last February have been fulfilled. Priorities were identified by the Leaders and an Implementation Plan agreed upon."
"Member States recommitted fully to the effective implementation of the CSME and agreed to the timelines - short, medium and long-term - set by the Plan. This Meeting presents an opportunity to review the actions taken by Member States to meet the timelines so that there could be an assessment of our progress," LaRocque noted.
The CARICOM Secre4tary General pointed out that "A fundamental element of the Single Market is the Trade in Goods. A review of the Common External Tariff (CET) and the Rules of Origin, the Community’s two major trade policy instruments, has been undertaken to assist in increasing the effectiveness of the Trade-in-Goods Regime. It aims to bring those instruments up to date, given the changes to our production structures that have taken place since they were first drafted."
"Based on the review, which included inputs from country missions, recommendations are being put forward for your consideration on a way forward. Given that regime’s centrality to the integration movement, the Report before you and its recommendations require careful consideration," he said.
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