The Caribbean’s Perspective on Trade and Tourism

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Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
May 23, 2012 (CUOPM)

CARICOM has welcomed the initiatives by the Government of Mexico to share its experiences with the development of a vibrant small and medium enterprise (SME) sector with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

“Our small and medium sized entrepreneurs are constrained by lack of access to credit and the ability to offer favourable credit terms to their clients. The latter affects their ability to compete with like producers throughout the region and the rest of the world. We therefore look forward to the implementation of the SME Development projects which can assist in filling our capacity gaps in the region,” St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas told Mexico’s President His Excellency Felipe Calderon, during Monday’s Second Mexico-CARICOM Summit in Barbados.

Prime Minister Douglas in presenting CARICOM’s perspective on Trade, Investment and Tourism, told the Mexican President that the Caribbean nations also welcome Mexico’s assistance in the area of tourism development.

“We welcome the initiatives aimed at strengthening the sector, given its importance to the GDP of both the Caribbean and Mexico. The region is particularly pleased to participate in the security and tourism project, which is designed to share Mexico’s experiences in creating a safe, stable environment for tourism to thrive. We all agree that security is important to economic growth and stability. We look forward to participating in these projects,” said Dr. Douglas.

He said the Caribbean is convinced that these and the other initiatives mentioned by other speakers will serve to build capacity within the region, strengthen the CSME, and enable it to participate more effectively in international trade.

“We are convinced further, that these initiatives will serve to strengthen the ties that exist between Mexico and the Caribbean Community,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis leader.

The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) forms the platform on which the region’s path to economic growth is charted. It seeks to create an enabling environment for business enterprises to thrive, enhance their competitiveness and transform our economies. It is therefore importance for the region to fashion a technical cooperation joint initiatives with Mexico to strengthen the CSME.

Based on 2010 statistics, all CARICOM countries, except Trinidad and Tobago experienced a trade deficit with Mexico. It is hoped that the initiatives contemplated in the context of the Joint Commission will serve to build the region’s capacity to increase its trade profile and overall competitiveness in international trade.

Prime Minister Douglas commended the Government of Mexico for agreeing to offer technical and financial assistance to help with the effective operation of the Caribbean Animal Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), which is based in Suriname.

“This important regional organisation is mandated to enhance the region’s capacity to engage in trade in food products, including meat. There is potential for the region to supply niche markets in the export of specialty foods. CAHFSA will assist in exploring this potential as well. We recognise that in order for us to export food products we must meet the food safety standards that govern such trade. The strengthening of CAHFSA is therefore imperative,” said Dr. Douglas.

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