Nation News 1/14/08
CARICOM/Canada trade talks start next month
THE FIRST FULL ROUND of negotiations on a Canada/ CARICOM Free Trade Agreement is scheduled to get started next month.
The news comes from Canadian High Commission counsellor and senior trade commissioner Jacques Desjardins, just three weeks after the region concluded a major trade agreement with the European Union.
Desjardins said a meeting was held last October in Jamaica to discuss the details of a possible Canada/CARICOM trade pact.
He said such an agreement would signal the beginning of free trade between the region and Canada.
"We look at this as a very positive and favourable thing and we certainly believe that Canada would be able to achieve a similar agreement with the region.
At present, he said, the region already had a Caribbean-Canada Trade agreement known as CARIBCAN, which provided tariff-free access for 97 per cent of Caribbean goods to Canada.
He said the existing agreement was renewed until 2011.
To those who questioned the need for the FTA agreement, he said: "An FTA is a lot more encompassing, the CARIBCAN is purely merchandise trade." (JW)