February 18, 2005
OECS Secretariat conducting study on impact of CSME

The OECS Secretariat is conducting a study into the impact on OECS Member States of their participation in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). {{more}}

The Study is being done with the assistance of the sub-regional office of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC), and is being financed through the CIDA financed OECS Trade Policy Project. It will be presented to OECS Heads prior to their next meeting, scheduled for May 26 to 27.

The CSME is expected to pose significant challenges to the small OECS economies, with the greatest of these being to economic activities, companies and workers. The Governments have stated that while they agree with and are committed to the broad principles of the CSME, they also recognize the need for a clear understanding of the issues, effects and implications of the agreement. In particular they want to see how Chapter Seven of the Revised treaty of Chaguaramas, which deals with the Special Regime for Disadvantaged Countries, Regions and Sectors, could be used for the benefit of the OECS, and what could be the responses of the people in the OECS.

The study will, among other things, provide the governments with an assessment of the market situation in CARICOM to identify possible trade opportunities for the OECS. It will examine the current production structures and capabilities in the OECS to determine the potential for intra-regional trade, and examine the current trade flows between the OECS countries and the rest of CARICOM to see if there are current trade benefits. It will also assess how the OECS could use the provisions of Chapter Seven to deal with any imbalances arising from the CSME.

The CSME was scheduled to take effect later this month when the three countries– Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago – were to sign on to the agreement, but this was posponed.

The other countries are expected to be fully compliant by December 2005.