Trade Minister Leads Delegation to 54th COTED Meeting

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TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, April 28 – April 27, 2022: Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry, will lead Trinidad and Tobago’s delegation to participate in regional trade policy discussions at the fifty-fourth ministerial session of the Trade and Development Council economic, which will be held virtually from April 28-29, 2022. The Trinidad and Tobago delegation will be comprised of senior officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and various other private sector ministries, departments and agencies, viz. Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Development, Customs and Excise Division, Bureau of Standards Trinidad and -Tobago, exportTT, Manufacturers Association of Trinidad and Tobago and Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

At this meeting, regional trade ministers will deliberate on a number of issues, including: the adoption of a policy on mergers and acquisitions that would aim to prevent market dominance by CSME companies and ensure that consumers are not affected by monopolistic prices; and the digitization of a CARICOM Application Processing System (CAPS) that would streamline application procedures for qualified nationals seeking to travel to other CSME member states to seek employment.

Proposals will also be considered by the CARICOM Private Sector Organization (CPSO) to expedite the process of amending the Common External Tariff (duties levied on imports) to provide protection to regional industries with the aim of improving the competitiveness of regional products and to improve the ability of companies to conquer a greater market share.

Regarding global issues, trade ministers will discuss the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the evolution of transport costs due to the pandemic, as well as the impact of the Russian- Ukrainian on the regional economy. Ministers are expected to recommend regional initiatives that can be pursued at the national level to mitigate the negative impact of these issues.

The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) is the body within CARICOM responsible for promoting trade in goods and services and sustainable regional economic development. The Council is one of the main platforms for strengthening the international competitiveness and economic resilience of the region and oversees the progress of integration through the full implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) .

Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in this meeting is essential to ensure that national interests are reflected in regional policies and initiatives. Participation at the ministerial level also shows the government’s commitment to the development of CARICOM and the regional integration movement.

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