March 16, 2012
Free circulation of goods within the OECS one-day seminar held

A one-day seminar which was conducted yesterday, March 15, discussed free circulation of goods within the OECS Economic Union, a regime which is slated to become operational by June 1, 2013.{{more}}

St Vincent and the Grenadines and other OECS countries ratified the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union on January 21, 2011. This has allowed for a single financial and economic space within which goods, people and capital can move freely. (Article 4)

The Economic Union Treaty commits Member States to establishing a Customs Union whereby goods entering a Member State from outside of the Union will pay import duties based on a Common Customs Tariff, while goods in trade within the Union will circulate free of import duties and other restrictions. In that regard, a study was commissioned to assess the implications. The OECS Heads of Government have since accepted the recommendations of the Study for implementation of the regime by 01 June 2013.

Article 10 of the Protocol to the Revised Treaty deals with the issue of Free Circulation of Goods as follows: “Goods imported from outside the Economic Union Area which are in free circulation in that Area shall enjoy the privileges of goods produced within the Area”

The application of this Protocol at the regional and national levels can pose a major challenge. It is important that the implications of free circulation of goods in the OECS Economic Union are fully understood by everyone concerned with its introduction. This is particularly important in respect of how goods are treated at the time of first entry into the Economic Union and how they are treated subsequently for free circulation within the single OECS economic space.

The one-day seminar was conducted at the NIS Conference room, and was held in conjunction with the ‘Hub and Spokes’ Project of the OECS Secretariat.