Sir Dwight speaks on free trade issues
June 2, 2006

Sir Dwight speaks on free trade issues

Despite efforts by some to push for the unhindered flow of goods and services between countries, Governor of the East Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Sir Dwight Venner, has boldly acknowledged that free trade does not necessarily level the playing field where world trade is concerned.

The Governor made this assertion during a Public and private policy forum here on Monday, May 29, at the Peace Memorial Hall.{{more}}

According to Sir Dwight, the changing trade regimes, particularly free trade, are being undermined by those countries that are powerful and have the capacity to negotiate successfully.

With this in mind, Sir Dwight mentioned that both individual and collective efforts would be of paramount importance if we are to insert ourselves successfully into the international economy.

According to the Central Bank Governor, small states such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines must decide on what goods and services they are best at producing in order to market themselves in the international economy.

Noting that the OECS and the Caribbean Community are in the transformative stage of their socio-economic development, Sir Dwight hinted that no privileges would be extended to countries by the international economy because of geographical size.

“Our major agricultural export commodities, sugar and banana are under immense pressure as the preferential arrangements are being inexorably eroded. In addition, the level of competition, which characterises our major foreign exchange earner tourism, signals that no privileges will be extended to us … simply because we are extremely small countries,” Sir Dwight stated.

This, he said, places great pressure on governments to deliver first world services and standards of living from a very small resource base.

Sir Dwight advocated that to remedy these inefficiencies a collective approach from both public and private sectors along with political and technical capacity would be necessary tools to strengthen our socio-economic development.