Petro Caribe member states  agree on new economic zone
May 10, 2013

Petro Caribe member states agree on new economic zone

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves announced earlier this week that he had signed a memorandum of understanding in relation to the establishment of a Petro Caribe economic zone.{{more}}

Petro Caribe member states agreed to create a new economic zone at a summit of the grouping, held last Sunday May 5, in Caracas, Venezuela.

It is expected that the new economic zone will enhance trading arrangements and economic cooperation between member states, Gonsalves said, at a press briefing on Tuesday.

These, he said are among the proposals behind the formation of Petro Caribe back in 2005.

“We need to carry this forward in a more focused manner as an economic zone,” he said.

A group has since been established to to perform certain duties, and according to Gonsalves, it is expected that the government of this country will work very closely with this group.

Functions of the group include assisting the regulation of regional economic integration, to analyze underutilized comparative advantages in the region, gather all necessary information and for conducting a feasibility study on the proposal to establish the economic zone, exchange experiences related to regional integration initiatives and include them in the Petro Caribe economic zone.

Gonsalves said in his address at the summit, he urged that the integration process be pursued, not in a mechanistic way, but organic.

“Where the respective strengths and weaknesses of each state within the integration system are dissolved into the whole, so that at the end of the day, not only is the whole a summation of the individual parts, but each of the individual parts must be in a better position than they were prior to the establishment of the economic zone,” the prime minister said.

He said, for example, a country which has an advantage with having energy, cannot trade on the same basis as a country that does not have a subsidy in energy.

Therefore, systems are to be put in place to protect the interest of smaller states such as St Vincent and the Grenadines he explained. (DD)