PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Mar 1, CMC – The Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mukhisa Kituyi has warned Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that they must be prepared to deal with a changing global trading environment and the threat it poses to small developing economies like those in the region.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, speaking at a news conference on Thursday night, following his return from St. Kitts-Nevis, where CARICOM leaders held their 30-th international-sessional meeting, said that the UNCTAD official met with the regional leaders on Monday night “to bring us up to speed as to what’s happening at UNCTAD.
“What bothers us from the report we are getting is that he was saying to us that what is happening at the WTO (world Trade Organization) now where the tribunal at the WTO , which is like a court within the WTO where complaints can be adjudicated upon, that powerful countries are disregarding the tribunal.
Rowley said that the regional leaders were informed that ‘these countries were making their own arrangements without reference to any consequences at the WTO.
‘And if this continues , all that is going to happen is that we are going to begin to see the return of the conditions…like the GATT (General Agreement on tariffs and Trade) and that will have serious consequences for us as a people in a world where might is right….
The Switzerland-based UNCTAD, a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964, supports developing countries to more effectively benefit from the globalised economy by providing technical and other assistance to help them use trade, investment, finance and technology to fuel sustainable development.
“And we help equip them to deal with the potential drawbacks of greater economic integration. To do this, we provide analysis, facilitate consensus-building, and offer technical assistance. This helps them to use trade, investment, finance, and technology as vehicles for inclusive and sustainable development,” according to the UNCTAD website.
Rowley said that the CARICOM countries are already feeling the effects of the ad hoc positions adopted by the European Union regarding the financial sectors sector.
“You saw what happened to us when we sold bananas. Get up one morning and the banana business was dead. You saw what happened to us with sugar. We had a sugar industry across the region, it was doing something for us, we get up one morning and it was dead”.
In the communique issued at the end of their summit, the regional leaders noted that the decision by Europe to blacklist several Caribbean countries “has wrought considerable reputational damage to the Community.
“Despite all member states, with the exception of one, being removed from the EU blacklist, the damage inflicted is irreparable and has consequential implications for building member states’ economic and climate resilience given our inherent vulnerabilities.”