Keynote Address delivered by His Excellency Evelyn Greaves, High Commissioner Of Barbados on behalf of the Incoming Chairman Of The CARICOM Ministerial Council For Trade And Economic Development  (CARICOM-Canada Trade Development Forum, Nov. 2011)
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Keynote Address delivered by His Excellency Evelyn Greaves, High Commissioner Of Barbados on behalf of the Incoming Chairman Of The CARICOM Ministerial Council For Trade And Economic Development (CARICOM-Canada Trade Development Forum, Nov. 2011)

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  • 1. CARICOM-CANADA TRADE DEVELOPMENT FORUM NOVEMBER 2, 2011 DELTA MEADOWVALE HOTEL AND CONVENTION CENTRE, MISSISSAUGA OPENING CEREMONY REMARKS DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY EVELYN GREAVES, HIGH COMMISSIONER OF BARBADOS ON BEHALF OF THE INCOMING CHAIRMAN OF THE CARICOM MINISTERIAL COUNCIL FOR TRADE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTSALUTATIONS1 THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CANADA AND CARICOM COUNTRIES DATES BACK TO THEEARLY 18TH CENTURY WHEN THE BRITISH NORTHERN ATLANTIC COLONIES EXCHANGEDFISH, LUMBER AND OTHER STAPLES FOR WEST INDIAN RUM, MOLASSES AND SPICES. CURRENTLY, OUR TRADE AND ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION RELATIONS ARE COVEREDUNDER A NUMBER OF LEGAL INSTRUMENTS, NAMELY, THE 1979 CARICOM-CANADA TRADEAND ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AGREEMENT AND ITS PROTOCOLS, INCLUDING THE 1998PROTOCOL ON RUM; CARIBCAN WHICH GRANTS UNILATERAL DUTY FREE ACCESS TO ELIGIBLEGOODS FROM BENEFICIARY COUNTRIES IN THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING CARIBBEAN; ANDBILATERAL INVESTMENT TREATIES WITH INDIVIDUAL MEMBER STATES, NAMELY BARBADOSAND TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. CANADA ALSO HAS MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING WITHJAMAICA, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, BARBADOS AND THE OECS COUNTRIES, UNDER WHICHWORKERS ARE SEASONALLY EMPLOYED ON CANADIAN FARMS. IN RECENT YEARS,HOSPITALITY WORKERS FROM BARBADOS AND A NUMBER OF CARICOM STATES HAVE BEEN1 DIGNITARIES TO BE IDENTFIED. 1
  • 2. RECRUITED ON A TEMPORARY BASIS TO WORK IN CANADIAN HOSPITALITY SECTORS.CARICOM CONTINUES TO BE AN IMPORTANT DESTINATION FOR CANADIAN FOREIGN DIRECTINVESTMENT (FDI) STOCK, ATTRACTING ALMOST 10% OF CANADA’S TOTAL OUTWARD FDISTOCK AS AT 2009. CARICOM INVESTORS FOUND A HOME IN CANADA FOR CDN$470 MN OF FDISTOCKS UP TO 2009. CULTURALLY, THE TIES BETWEEN CARICOM AND CANADA ARE STRONG. IN 2006, ITWAS ESTIMATED THERE WERE 390,000 RESIDENTS IN CANADA WHO ORIGINATED IN THE 15CARICOM COUNTRIES. CANADIAN AUTHORS AND ARTISTS CONTINUE TO INFLUENCE THECANADIAN CULTURAL LANDSCAPE. CANADA HAS ALSO HAD A GOVERNOR GENERAL OFHAITIAN HERITAGE, AND MICHAEL LEE CHIN, A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN AND IMMIGRANTFROM JAMAICA DONATED CAN$30 MILLION TO THE ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM IN 2006. AS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES CONTINUES TO GROW, SO TOODOES THE INVOLVEMENT AT THE POLITICAL LEVEL. I AM PLEASED TO REPORT THATCARICOM HEADS OF MISSION IN OTTAWA HAVE BEEN ENGAGING ON SEVERAL FRONTS WITHTHE POLITICAL DIRECTORATE IN THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS REALMS. MEETINGS HAVE BEENHELD WITH THE HON. DIANE ABLONCZY, MINISTER OF STATE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS(AMERICAS AND CONSULAR AFFAIRS). CARICOM HEADS OF MISSION ARE ALSO SCHEDULED TOMEET WITH THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, THE HON. JOHN BAIRD ON NOVEMBER 30. CARICOM RECOGNISES THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CURRENT CARIBCAN ARRANGEMENT.OUR MERCHANDISE EXPORT TRADE TO CANADAHAS INCREASED ANNUALLY BY 14.9 PERCENT, GROWING FROM US$400MN IN 1999 TO OVERUS$1.4BN IN 2009. CARICOM EXPORTS BENEFIT FROM DUTY FREE TARIFF TREATMENT UNDERCARIBCAN ACROSS ALL PRODUCT CATEGORIES EXCEPT TEXTILES, CLOTHING AND LEATHER. 2
  • 3. AT THE SAME TIME, WE RECOGNIZE, THAT CURRENT NON-RECIPROCAL PREFERENTIALPROGRAMMES SUCH AS CARIBCAN AND THE GENERALISED PREFERENTIAL TARIFF (GPT) DONOT PROVIDE AN ADEQUATE AND SECURE FOUNDATION ON WHICH TO ANCHOR THE REGION’SFUTURE TRADE AND ECONOMIC RELATIONS WITH CANADA. ALTHOUGH CARIBCAN PREFERENCES HAVE BEEN EXTENDED UNDER A NEW WTOWAIVER UNTIL DECEMBER 30, 2011, THE REGION’S CONTINUED ENJOYMENT OF THEPREFERENCES IS TIME BOUND. THE CHANGING INTERNATIONAL TRADING ENVIRONMENT ASTYPIFIED BY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION (WTO), PROVIDE STRONGMOTIVATION TO LOCK-IN THE EXISTING PREFERENCES AND PREFERENTIAL MARGINS IN ANEW TRADE ARRANGEMENT WHICH PROVIDES LONG TERM SECURITY AND PREDICTABILITYFOR TRADERS AND INVESTORS. FURTHER, CARIBCAN’S COVERAGE IS LIMITED TO TRADE INGOODS AND DOES NOT EXTEND TO TRADE IN SERVICES, WHICH IS OF INCREASINGIMPORTANCE TO CARICOM ECONOMIES. FURTHER, A MORE MATURE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH CANADA WILL ALSO EMBRACEHAITI AND SURINAME WHICH ARE CURRENTLY EXCLUDED FROM THE CARIBCAN BENEFITS.ADDITIONAL BENEFITS ANTICIPATED INCLUDE PROVISIONS TO STRENGTHEN TRADEFACILITATION; INNOVATION; ELECTRONIC COMMERCE; COMPETITION POLICY; ANDTRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT. ALSO, FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE REGIONWILL NEGOTIATE COMPREHENSIVE INVESTMENT PROMOTION AND PROTECTION PROVISIONSGEARED TOWARDS ATTRACTING INVESTMENTS WHICH CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS SUSTAINABLEDEVELOPMENT . IF WE ARE INDEED SERIOUS ABOUT EXPLOITING COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES WITHCANADA, WE CANNOT AFFORD LESS COMPETITIVE AND LEGALLY UNCERTAIN TERMS OF 3
  • 4. TRADE RELATIVE TO OTHER ECONOMIES SUCH AS PERU, COLOMBIA, PANAMA, THEDOMINICAN REPUBLIC, HONDURAS, COSTA RICA AND CHILE WHO HAVE EITHER COMPLETEDFREE TRADE AGREEMENTS (FTAS) WITH CANADA, OR ARE AT AN ADVANCED STAGE OF SUCHPURSUITS. AT THE SAME TIME, A SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT DIMENSION IS CRITICAL IF CARICOMIS TO MAXIMISE THE BENEFITS FROM A MORE MATURE TRADING ARRANGEMENT WITHCANADA. CARICOM COUNTRIES ARE UNDERTAKING THE CHALLENGING TASK OFRESTRUCTURING THEIR ECONOMIES FROM POST COLONIAL MODELS, TO CENTRES OFINNOVATION AND VALUE CREATION. CARICOM HEADS OF GOVERNMENT HAD PROPOSED TO THEIR CANADIANCOUNTERPART THE NEGOTIATION OF A “MORE MATURE TRADING RELATIONSHIP WHICHBUILDS ON, AND ENHANCES, EXISTING ARRANGEMENTS AND FULFILS THE OBJECTIVE OF THEECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF CARICOM COUNTRIES.” IT IS OUR VIEW THAT AN AGREEMENTBETWEEN CARICOM AND CANADA MUST BE GUIDED BY THE PRINCIPLE OF ASYMMETRYWHICH RECOGNIZES, AND APPROPRIATELY RESPONDS TO DIFFERENCES IN THE LEVEL OFDEVELOPMENT BETWEEN CARICOM AND CANADA ON THE ONE HAND, AS WELL AS AMONGCARICOM COUNTRIES. I PAUSE TO APPRECIATE THIS POINT AS MADE BY MINISTER ABLONCZYIN HER REMARKS. FOR US TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES CREATED BY THE AGREEMENT,MEASURES TO SUPPORT CAPACITY BUILDING AND ENHANCING COMPETITIVENESS, WHILEMINIMISING THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF TRADE LIBERALISATION ARE NECESSARY. 4
  • 5. WE WELCOME CANADA’S COMMITMENT TO SUPPORT CAPACITY-BUILDING ASSOCIATEDWITH THE AGREEMENT AND OTHER AREAS OF CARICOM’S DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES IN THEFORM OF CAN$600 MILLION TO BE UTILISED OVER 10 YEARS. THIS PLEDGE WAS MADE BYPRIME MINISTER HARPER WHEN HE MET WITH CARICOM HEADS OF GOVERNMENT IN JULY2007. IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT THE NEW TRADE ARRANGEMENT IS SUCCESSFUL, CARICOMHAS PROPOSED A NUMBER OF AREAS FOR COOPERATION. ALL OUR ECONOMIES ARE FACING A CHALLENGING GLOBAL OUTLOOK WHICH SPEAKSTO THE NEED TO RELEASE OUR CREATIVE POTENTIAL AND TO RECOGNISE THAT IT CANNOTBE BUSINESS AS USUAL. CARICOM’S FUTURE LIES IN DEVELOPING COOPERATION INITIATIVESAND PARTNERSHIPS TO GENERATE INVESTMENT IN STRATEGIC AREAS SUCH AS INNOVATIONDEVELOPMENT/COMMERCIALISATION, TRANSPORTATION, AND INFRASTRUCTURE. AS MICRO-ECONOMIES THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A ROLE FOR COOPERATION IN TRADE ARRANGEMENTSWITH MORE DEVELOPED PARTNERS. WE RECOGNISE THE NEED TO EMBRACE INNOVATION DRIVEN COMPETITIVENESS. WEBELIEVE THAT THE CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATION CAN CULTIVATE ANDTRANSFORM ENTREPRENEURSHIP, FORGE NEW INDUSTRY, HELP MAXIMIZE EXPORTOPPORTUNITIES, CREATE JOBS AND IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF OUR CITIZENS. WE SEEA MORE MATURE TRADE ARRANGEMENT WITH CANADA SUPPORTING THIS DEVELOPMENTALGOAL. THIS FORUM IS AIMED AT FACILITATING BUSINESS MATCHMAKING AND POLICYADVOCACY TO IDENTIFY SPECIFIC TYPES OF PROVISIONS NEEDED TO REALISE MEANINGFULBUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES. THERE ARE A HOST OF FORESEEABLE BUSINESS POSSIBILITIES FORBOTH SERVICES PROVIDERS AND GOODS PRODUCERS THAT COULD BE FACILITATED BY A NEW 5
  • 6. AGREEMENT WHICH HAS BENEFITTED FROM THE CLEARLY ARTICULATED VIEWS OF THEPRIVATE SECTORS OF CARICOM AND CANADA. THERE ARE ALSO IMMEDIATE OPPORTUNITIESWHICH THE HOLDING OF THE PAN AM GAMES IN TORONTO SCHEDULED FOR JULY 10-26, 2015MAY PROVIDE. I LOOK FORWARD TO RECOMMENDATIONS WHICH WILL EMANATE FROM YOURDISCUSSIONS. LET ME, IN CLOSING, WARMLY THANK ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE TAKEN TIME FROM YOURBUSY SCHEDULES AND AGENDAS TO BE HERE. LET ME ALSO THANK THE GOVERNMENTS OFCANADA THROUGH THE CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY, AND THEEUROPEAN UNION THROUGH THE CARIBBEAN EXPORT DEVELOPMENT AGENCY, WHO HAVEGRACIOUSLY PROVIDED RESOURCES TOWARDS THE HOSTING OF THIS FORUM. I WISH YOU SUCCESSFUL DELIBERATIONS, THANK YOU.END 6