Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 9th 2017 Contents FEBRUARY 9 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG19
Trade development and
external economic relations
The 31st special committee
on trade development and
external economic relations
was held on September 20,
2016 at the Secretariat of the
Association Caribbean States
(ACS) in Port-of-Spain, T&T.
ACS special committee meetings are annual
meetings held in the major focal areas of the
association's agenda---trade and external eco-
nomic relations, sustainable tourism, trans-
port and disaster risk reduction, in addition
to budget and administration.
Special committees are open dialogues for
member states to discuss, amend and ap-
prove the work programmes of each area for
the ACS' upcoming calendar year and review
the outcomes of the previous year. This year,
the meeting was attended by 17 members and
associate members and was chaired by the Co-
lombian ambassador to the Republic of T&T
The committee primarily focuses on encour-
aging increased trade and investment within
the Greater Caribbean; a market place of ap-
proximately 292 million people (World Bank
Indicators, 2015), envisioning the construction
and consolidation of an enhanced economic
space for trade and investment.
While an ample market size, unique charac-
teristics such as linguistic and cultural differ-
ences have proven to be obstacles to the Greater
However, more complex factors such as trade
facilitation, access to information to trade pol-
icy, and country specific legislative and legal
measures are not only pervasive but problem-
atic across the regional trading environment.
The directorate of trade development and
external economic relations (DTDEER) is
therefore tasked with a multi-faceted agenda
which includes addressing the aforementioned
obstacles and barriers to trade, encouraging
participation of all members and associate
members, particularly small economies, in-
creasing trade facilitation, competitiveness
and connectivity and encouraging interna-
tional trade negotiations.
Trade in numbers
Highlights of the committee meeting were:
the successful projects completed by the DT-
DEER 2015/2016 focusing on trade facilitation,
logistics, trade statistics and small, medium
enterprises (SMEs) development.
What was the ACS'
trade impact in numbers?
The directorate has conducted over 15 ses-
sions in the 2015-2016 periods in the form
of workshops, distance learning courses and
seminars. It has trained approximately 300
trade, maritime, customs and government
professionals and collaborated with 8 inter-
national and regional organisations.
In conjunction with the Secretariat for Eco-
nomic Integration (SIECA) and United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNC-
TAD), the ACS held its first online initiative
for 2016 hosting 150 professionals from 31
countries, including economists, statisticians
and policy analysts etc., who were trained in
the latest International Trade in Services data
In the following months, this time in con-
junction with the Government of Colombia,
the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism
(MinCIT), the ACS hosted 5 online trade train-
ing workshops with approximately 50 officials
from various ACS government agencies in areas
such as trade facilitation, technical standards
and regulations, export and investment pro-
motion, public procurement and the estab-
lishment of a Single Window for Trade.
The Government of Colombia has also sup-
ported micro small and medium enterprises
(MSME) training and development by host-
ing two workshops in Bogota, Colombia and
welcomed some 20 Caribbean professionals.
The Government of Mexico and the Mex-
ican Agency for International Development
Cooperation (AMEXCID) have contributed
significantly to trade facilitation and logistics
initiatives through the short distance maritime
project (SDMT) and the international transit
of goods (TIM) projects.
Workshops were conducted on terminal op-
erating systems and maritime traffic according
to international conventions.
From 2015 to 2016, another AMEXCID ini-
tiative - the FOCAHIMECA project focusing
on improving regional hydrographic capacity
has trained over 40 hydrography specialists/
technicians in four workshops in Veracruz and
Ciudad de Campeche, Mexico.
Trade and the sustainable
The DTDEER's impact in number is bolstered
by its strategic alignment with the United Na-
tion's sustainable development goals (SDGs).
• Sustainable development goal 8: Decent
work and economic growth
To promote sustained, inclusive and sus-
tainable economic growth, full and productive
employment and decent work for all
• Sustainable development goal 9: industry,
innovation & infrastructure
To build resilient infrastructure, promote
inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and
foster innovation build resilient infrastructure,
promote inclusive and sustainable industri-
alisation and foster innovation
• Sustainable development goal 10: Reduced
To reduce inequality within and among
• Sustainable development goal 17: Partner-
ships for the Goals
To strengthen the means of implementa-
tion and revitalise the global partnership for
Indeed, the directorate seeks to foster trade
policies which not only promote growth but
also drive innovation, integrate the region's
small producers and rural communities into
the global market and leverage its synergies
with partner institutions to achieve these goals.
Looking to the future
As the directorate looks toward the future, it
endeavours to continue its on-going projects
but also launch more innovative initiatives.
One such initiative is the ACS business travel
project which is slated to enter into its pilot
project phase in the coming months.
This project supported by the International
Organisation for Migration is specifically craft-
ed to allow business owners and entrepreneurs
to travel within the region for business pur-
poses without the bureaucracy and regulative
nightmare of the current system.
Another project to be officially launched in
the near future is the ACS's Trade Platform,
an online trade database which is expected to
be a comprehensive repository of trade statis-
tics for the region's policy analysts, students,
researchers and public at large.
The directorate is supported by a team of 5
professionals: director Alberto Duran Espaillat,
a native from the Dominican Republic heads the
team; He is supported by Veronica Gonzalez,
trade adviser (Colombia), Cherise Trotman,
research assistant (Barbados), Kafi Nicholas,
Secretary (T&T) and Gina Cabrera-Tilokee
Any comments or feedback should be
submitted to email@example.com
Members of the 31st special committee on trade development and external economic relations held on September 20, 2016 at the Secretariat of the
Association Caribbean States, Port-of-Spain.
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