News

Caribbean Tourism continues record growth

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday November 27, 2017 – Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says Caribbean tourism continues to grow at record pace, with data from the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) showing that the region has welcomed 16.6 million visitors for the first six months of the year.

The figure is 800,000 more than for the similar period in 2016, constituting a growth rate of 5.22 per cent.

Minister Bartlett, who was giving the welcome address at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre today, said tourism in the region grew at an unprecedented rate of 4.2 per cent in 2016, outpacing the global average of 3.9 per cent.

This, he said, was amid volatility and uncertainty in main source markets, such as the United States and parts of Europe.

“The region welcomed a historic 29 million visitors in 2016, over one million more visitors than in 2015. The data for 2016 also indicate that cruise tourism in the region is booming, as cruise passenger arrivals grew by an estimated 1.3 per cent, to approximately 26.3 million in 2016,” he pointed out.

He said Jamaica’s tourism performance for 2017 has been impressive, with the country on track to surpass last year’s historic growth rate of four per cent or 3.84 million visitors in total.

“We welcomed over 3.3 million visitors in the first nine months of 2017 and we expect total arrivals to surpass four million by the first week of December,” he told conference delegates.

“Gross foreign exchange earnings for the first 10 months of the year were US$2.34 billion, which is a 10.8 per cent increase over the corresponding period in 2016. We remain firmly committed and convinced that our tourism industry is on the right track and that we will achieve our growth target of ‘five in five’ or five per cent annual growth rate in five years,” he said.

The Minister noted that the tourism sector in the region has traditionally been very resilient and remains one of the most valuable contributors to job creation, poverty alleviation, investments, export revenues, gross domestic product (GDP) and to the economic livelihoods of millions of citizens.

He said, however, that “its gentle balance can be easily disturbed by a wide range of risks and threats”.

“These include global economic recessions, global food shortages, an oil crisis, political instability in major source markets, terrorist attacks, environmental disasters and pandemics and epidemics, just to name a few,” Bartlett said.

“As we have seen recently with the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, it just takes one powerful disaster to devastate whole national economies, thus we can never become complacent.”

The Tourism Minister said regional heads will now have to reassess existing strategies for managing risks and challenges, incorporate new approaches and harness new opportunities for growth and expansion in the tourism sector.

“Indeed, the sustainability and resilience of our tourism sector is hinged upon us being forward-thinking, proactive, collaborative, multifaceted and innovative in our approaches to tourism development in the region,” he argued.

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

Joint Statement of the 3rd Meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee

Joint Statement

From the Third Meeting of

The CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee

  1. The Third Meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee (CC) took place on 6 and 7 November 2017 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Co-chaired By Dav-Ernan Kowlessar from the CARIFORUM side and Brenda King from the EU side. According to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Cariforum States and the European Union, the task of the CC is to assist the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council in promoting dialogue and cooperation between representatives of organisations of civil society. The agreement also recognises the role of the CC in monitoring the implementation of all economic, social and environmental aspects of the EPA and in strengthening dialogue between representatives of civil society.
  1. In order to provide added value to EPA implementation, the CC acknowledged that its 3 main goals are: (1) to be a sounding board; (2) to provide technical support and advice; and (3) to raise awareness and disseminate information.
  1. The CC appreciated that the Head of the EU Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago participated in the opening session. The CC strongly encourages and welcomes participation of officials from both Parties in future meetings.

  1. Given the importance of services in the economies of Cariforum and EU countries, the CC welcomes the emphasis put on services by the Cariforum-EU Joint Council and Joint Parliamentary Assembly and therefore calls for the establishment of a multi-stakeholder Working Group on Services.
  1. The CC highlighted the following issues related to trade in services:
  1. The importance of better collection of statistics and disaggregated data by country and sector;
  2. The need to work on data protection regulation so that adequacy can be further negotiated with relevant authorities;
  3. The importance of advancingthe work on mutual recognition of professional qualifications;
  4. The importance of expanding the provisions for business visas.
  1. The CC emphasised other key areas related to:
  1. Youth development and entrepreneurship, insisting on the importance of access to finance and encouraging the development of business incubators;
  2. Creating a more enabling environment for the further development of MSMEs, including microfinancing, in particular in sectors such as agriculture and fisheries;
  3. Building resilience to the impact of climate change, insisting on the importance of climate adaptation,disaster risk reduction and transition to renewable energies, as well as on the effects that this might have on productive capabilities;
  4. The need to ensure that social aspects, core labour standards and the decent work agenda are considered in the EPA implementation;
  5. Partnerships on research and development, calling for the creation of an enabling environment by connecting CSOs, academia and governments including via public-private academic partnerships.
  1. The CC expressed concerns about the potential serious impact on trade between the two Parties due to the exiting of the United Kingdom from the EU. Therefore, the CC encourages the Parties to anticipate and mitigate any reduction of trade by diversifying trade activities into the EU27
  1. Concerns were raised regarding the non-ratification of the agreement by some Cariforum and EU countries, as well as to the impact that non-ratification might have on certain sectors. Furthermore, the CC calls for clarification from the Parties on implications of the provisional implementation of the EPAs on both sides.
  1. The CC calls for an early adoption and implementation of a monitoring and evaluation mechanism, and reiterates the need for the CC to be involved in the setting up of such a mechanism, as well as in the discussions on monitoring indicators.
  1. The CC considers that the monitoring and evaluation should include relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target indicators, as well as ILO core labour standards and decent work indicators.
  1. The CC calls for observer status at the Trade and Development (T&D) Committee in order to facilitate access to relevant documents from other EPA bodies for the effective functioning of the its work. The CC for its part is willing to contribute to the transparency by publishing relevant documents on webpages, and would like in particular to draw the attention to initiatives led by the Caribbean social partners in this sense.
  1. The CC reiterates the importance of being in receipt of an adequate and transparent budget for its functioning and for the implementation of its work plan, which was finalised and adopted at the meeting and is attached as an annex to this joint statement.
  1. The next meeting of the CC will be in 2018 to coincide with the next meeting of the T&D Committee and the Joint Council.

_____________

Expression of Interest - Private Sector Representative on CARICOM Development Fund

We are seeking Expressions of Interest from suitable candidates to be nominated by the CAIC as the Private Sector Representative on the CARICOM Development Fund.

Ms. Bobbi McKay, Executive Director Barbados Manufacturers Association, whose term as the representative has come to an end was nominated by the CAIC.

Interested candidates are asked to send a copy of their CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Tuesday November 21, 2017 to facilitate the CAIC's nomination to the CARICOM Secretary General by November 24, 2017.

Opening Remarks at Third Joint Consultative Committee of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA

Opening Remarks to the Third CARIFORUM-EU EPA Joint Consultative Committee Meeting

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad 6-7/11/17
CARIFORUM Chair - Dav-Ernan Kowlessar


Good Morning,
Head of the EU Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Mr. Arend Biesebroek, Co-Chair of the Joint Consultative Committee, Ms. Brenda King, Representatives from CARIFORUM and EU civil society organisations, representatives of the CARIFORUM and EESC Secretariats and other invited participants and observers. It is my distinct honour and pleasure as the Chair of the CARIFORUM side of the JCC to welcome all of you to this third meeting of the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee.


Within the framework of the EPA, the Joint Consultative Committee institutionalises civil society engagement in the role of assisting and advising the Joint Council, whose responsibility (in turn) involves the operation and implementation of the EPA. The JCC is as well tasked with assisting and advising the Trade and Development Committee, which, in turn assists the Joint Council with its duties in the implementation and application of the Agreement.


It is expected that the Joint Consultative Committee would promote dialogue and cooperation between and amongst civil society representatives and organisations. However, as part of our responsibility we can take initiative and make recommendations to the Joint Council on three intrinsically linked aspects of the Agreement - social, economic and environmental.


The structure of the EPA involves various Committees that oversee different aspects of the Agreement and some of us sitting here are involved and/or informed through the various “hats” we wear. At this Third Meeting of the JCC, through our agenda it is our aim to raise the prominence and impact of the CC by moving from dialogue to action (It is important to note that the JCC is not able to make decisions but has to work on its relationship with the Committees that can..)


In a 2011 discussion paper by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) on ‘How to make the EPA Joint CC work effectively’, which looks at civil society participation in the implementation of the EPA, there were some (still relevant) key considerations for our work to be of practical added value to the implementation process. There were three key functions the JCC could play: -
1. We can inform the Joint Council about major economic and societal concerns in the implementation so that we could feed into possible ways to advance the implementation, and
2. We can provide on-the-ground information and technical advice on the monitoring and implementation of the EPA or
3. We can be a public relation exercise.


To add value, there needs to be integration amongst the Civil Society Organisations as our ability to represent the interests of the members and stakeholders of our organisations is what gives us legitimacy to function genuinely.


Therefore, starting today, let’s remove the barriers between the Cariforum side and the EU side; this is not a negotiating platform; but rather, let’s leverage on the synergies between both parties and achieve a fair, decent and common platform to co-exist. As I tell my labour colleagues, we don’t have to agree on everything, but certainly we have a symbiotic relationship that can flourish to each other’s advantage.


While the CARIFORUM side faces major challenges to participating effectively in the CC due to coordination of the civil society actors, unresolved CARICOM matters and the inability to make substantive input into the policy process, we recognise the support of the EU, which allows the civil society organisations to produce research and conduct capacity building exercises.


Having recently been party to two major Civil Society / Non-State Actor forum where the collective energies of this dynamic were able to achieve consensus through focus on a common forward thinking objective, I am certain this new paradigm, especially for the Caribbean, can be achieved. The first of these was with the 9th meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean Civil Society in relation to the EU, and the second with the first Non State Actor forum of the ACP; we intend to bring these discussions to the meeting’s attention for their consideration.
Since the last meeting of the JCC there are specific issues we wish to bring to the table due to their impact on progress made and our ability to optimise value. These will be structured under the three pillars of the social, economic environment framework, which are inherently connected, and in the latter, affected by changes in the global market.


The issue of monitoring and evaluation seems elusive so it is intended that we make it simple yet effective. As an example, a look at the trade in goods statistics for 3 years to 2016, between the EU and its Caribbean counterparts shows that EU Imports have been on the decline over the three years and whilst they held steady between 2015 and 2016, they increased over 2014. What is even more impactful is that the gap between imports and exports has widened in favour of EU exporters.


The response to climate change and the stimulus it has on our regions’ susceptibility to seasonal weather conditions; and the matter of disaster risk reduction, which follows through on climate change with business continuity being a key factor in recovery.


This third meeting of the JCC is an excellent opportunity for us to make a paradigm shift to add practical value to the JC and TDC through the exchange of information and views on the progress and impact of the implementation of the EPA.


It also provides an opportunity to identify and recommend resolution to any additional existing issues that may be preventing the effective implementation of the EPA.


This is a great responsibility, which requires our collective wisdom, experience and serious consideration with an open, constructive and candid exchange of views.


We look forward to a productive two-day meeting and await your conclusions and recommendations since they will contribute greatly to the implementation of the EPA for the development of our regions, to our mutual benefit.

 

CAIC leads Caribbean delegation at 1st ACP Non State Actors Meeting in Brussels

The African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group of States today hosted day one of two (October 30 - 31, 2017) of the 1st ACP Non-State Actors meeting in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting brings together representatives of NSAs from the 6 regions of the ACP Group to examine issues of common interest to the Group with regards to the SDGs, climate change, private sector development and the future of ACP-EU relations post Cotonou.

The main objective of the meeting is to provide a platform for NSAs views ont he process of defining, implementing and monitoring strategies for a coherent ACP approach and to effectively translate development objectives into results at the national level.

Leading the Caribbean delegation is CAIC Secretary Dav-Ernan Kowlessar who is also the Chair of the CARIFORUM side of the CARIFORUM-EU Consultative Committee on the EPA. The Caribbean delegation is comprised of the following: -

CAFRA - Flavia Cherry
CAFAN - Jethro Greene
ALLIANZA - Addys Then Marte
CCL - Andrew Lewis
ADIH - Georges B. Sassine
CYEN - Reginald Burke

The issues for consideration at the meeting are: -
The Future of the ACP Group under the theme 'The ACP We Want' under three strategic pillars.
1. Trade, industrialisation and services
2. Development cooperation, technology, science and innovation and research
3. Political dialogue and advocacy

The Future of ACP-EU relations Post 2020
One of the NSAs identified in the Cotonou Agreement is the private sector. The role to be played by the private sector in ACP states' social and economic development aims at:
1. Improving the business climate for private sector development
2. Developing and strengthening entrepreneurship and MSMEs
3. Increasing access to financing for MSMEs and strengthening competitiveness and access for MSMEs to the national, regional and global markets.

ECSEA Chamber Update

Official Chamber Correspondence

On behalf of our inter-regional organization, the Eastern Caribbean-Southeast Asia Economic and Cultural Chamber, we sincerely convey and extend our heartfelt sympathies as Hurricane Irma overwhelmed many islands in the Caribbean region causing extensive property damages and loss of life.

With the disastrous aftermath, the Chamber has been deeply concerned for one of its stakeholders, Antigua & Barbuda, as it left the island of Barbuda essentially uninhabitable. In this regard, the Chamber is poised to allocate some of the proceeds of its events in the near future in support of the victims and the hopeful rehabilitation of the island. During a recent events planning session, the Chamber’s management team has set a target goal of raising EC$ 27,000 for direct donation to Barbudans affected in this recent calamity.

Headlining the Chamber’s upcoming activities in Southeast Asia is “The Luxe Life: A Visual Cruise of the Eastern Caribbean”, a three-day promotional event focused on tourism, trade relations and investment in the Eastern Caribbean region launching initially in December 2017 in an upscale mall in Manila, Philippines and then reciprocated in Jakarta, Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand in 2018. Interested members and stakeholders wishing to participate in this activity should contact Chamber staff directly.

The Chamber’s fruitful 2017 CARIB Roadshow ended last month on a high note and as we move towards the 4th quarter of the year, the Chamber has been busy continuing to achieve its various mandate. As a participant to the United Nations Global Compact, the Chamber has established an official connection with the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) with the receipt of an official letter directly from H.E. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative. Recent Chamber efforts also include registration with the NGO Branch of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and successful registration to the European Commission’s Transparency Register. In addition, the Chamber has been approved to join as an Associate Member of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), a participative organization with the UN founded in 1948.

Supplementing its cultural efforts in the Southeast Asian region, the Chamber has connected with the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland as an Institutional Member. It is also moving forward with the long term cooperation with the Diplomatic Academy of the Caribbean, an educational centre part of the Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, and will commence partnership activities beginning November 2017.

We thank everyone for the continued trust in the Chamber’s endeavours and look forward to your unwavering support.

The Eastern Caribbean-Southeast Asia Economic and Cultural Chamber is certified by the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales as a non-governmental initiative
limited by guarantee under registration number 10555443. It is an official participant to the United Nations Global Compact and fully supports the SIDS Global Business
Network administered by the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island
Developing States (UN-OHRLLS). The Chamber is also registered with the NGO Branch of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and is an Associate Member of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO).
www.ecseachamber.org | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | http://facebook.com/ECSEAchamber

SBAJ to host Inaugural Caribbean MSME Conference

The Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) is staging the Inaugural Caribbean MSME Conference on July 19 – 21, 2017. The overarching theme is “Collaboration for Caribbean Business Sustainability”. The conference will bring together private and public sector stakeholders to discuss Trade, Finance and Policy. The stakeholders include representatives from CARICOM, Ministers of Trade, Investment and Commerce, Government Officials, Small Business Association Presidents and local and Regional MSMEs.

Conference Objective: “Shape opportunities for Regional Small Business Associations (RSBAs) to better serve and support their members while striving to create a space to address areas most critical to the sustainability and livelihood of MSMEs through a network connecting Business to Business (B2B).

 

EXPECTED OUTCOME

  1. Draft Policy Document on Caribbean Business Sustainability
  2. Agreement amongst Regional SBAs to collectively lobby Governments of the region for specific policy changes on trade finance and legislation
  3. Expose attendees to various cultures and businesses
  4. Facilitate opportunities for B2B networking
  5. Facilitate a Mini Expo for MSMEs
  6. Promote country to country dialogue at the ministerial level to secure a predictable and supportive framework that gives MSMEs the certainty and confidence required to take risks and expand.

For further information, kindly contact Shemoya Martin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (876) 978-9191.

Eurasian Week 2017

Eurasian Week is a major annual business event dedicated to promoting EAEU economy, investment and export potential. The Forum is conducted by countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Eurasian Economic Commission. The initiative to institute the Eurasian Week was approved by a resolution of five Prime Ministers of EAEU countries in May 2015.

The first Eurasian Week forum took place in October 2016 within the Moscow International Forum ‘Open Innovations’. The business program included 16 subject-matter events involving more than 400 speakers from EAEU and other countries (Vietnam, Singapore, Egypt, South Korea, and countries of the European Union). The Forum was attended by more than 2,000 persons in total.

The Eurasian Week offers:

  • Direct dialog between businesses and national regulators of EAEU countries
  • Secrets of corporate governance and forecasts of economic development from CEOs of leading transnational corporations
  • Representatives of largest business associations and development institutes of Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan on one platform
  • A platform where businesses interact, new partners and new markets are sought: 2,000 participants from more than 20 countries worldwide
  • A subcontracting exchange and a real chance to become a provider for largest production companies of EAEU countries
  • An interactive demonstration of the export potential or the Union's member states: more than 300 participating companies and a unique opportunity to invite any of the exhibitors to a one-on-one meeting right on the Forum's platform
  • An educational program and information about all changes in customs legislation, the goods certification and marking system, rules of the game in common markets
  • An opportunity to attend EXPO 2017, one of the largest global exhibitions of this year

To participate in the Eurasian Week, register on the forum's website for free.

We will be happy to answer your questions:
Tel.: +7 (495) 320 8140
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

OAS Private Sector Forum

Save the Date for the Private Sector Forum of the Americas on the margins of the OAS General Assembly - "Reforms for a Booming Private Sector in the Americas: Creating the Jobs of the Future", to be held at the Moon Palace Hotel in Cancun, Mexico on June 19th 2017

CCAA Advances Discussions on US-Caribbean Strategic Engagement at 2017 Spring Meetings

March 27, 2017 | PRESS RELEASE

Washington, DC –
The “United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act” (H.R.4939) was signed into law on December 16, 2016.  On March 21 & 22, Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA) brought the passage and implementation of the law into focus with a series of events in Washington, DC.

On March 21st, CCAA members presented awards to the authors of the legislation, Representatives Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), for their long-standing commitment to the region. In her remarks, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen said: “Alongside my friend Eliot Engel, I was proud to play a role as the lead Republican cosponsor of the U.S.-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act which became law last year. This new law requires the State Department to develop a strategy to partner with our Caribbean neighbors on everything from counter-narcotics to energy security, and to broaden our outreach to the Caribbean diaspora community in the United States.”

Highlighting the role of the Caribbean Diaspora, the Congresswoman added: “As someone who represents South Florida and a large number of Caribbean-Americans, I know that part of what makes our community so unique is in no small part thanks to the influence of the Caribbean diaspora. Deepening our strategic relationship with the Caribbean represents an extraordinary opportunity to expand our economic ties, cooperate on security issues, and advance our values and interests.”

Congressman Engel underscored his commitment to advancing the dialogue: “Let’s build on the momentum of our legislation’s passage and use it as a starting point for enhanced engagement with the Caribbean in the years ahead.  Here in Congress, I will continue to do all I can to push U.S.–Caribbean relations to the front of the U.S. foreign policy agenda.  And I ask that you all continue to be strong partners in this effort.  Keep up the energy and the pressure so that we build these relationships into everything we know they can become.”

CCAA brought its resources to the table to do just that during a day-long series of off-the-record meetings on March 22nd, when stakeholders from the U.S. Government, the Caribbean Diplomatic Corps, multilateral institutions, the Diaspora, and the private sector, debated issues influencing the U.S.-Caribbean dynamic and how H.R.4939 could shape the relationships going forward.

Throughout the day, participants not only drew attention to the geographic, economic, political, and cultural ties, shared by the U.S. and the Caribbean, but also to how the legislation harnesses attention on the engagement when there is pressure being exerted on regional economies, and at the same time, the geo-political landscape is shifting in Europe, the Americas, and beyond.  CCAA’s Executive Director, Sally Yearwood, emphasized the importance of this dialogue as the Executive Branch works to develop the strategy for engagement: “H.R.4939 gives the Caribbean an opportunity to build and strengthen partnerships, and it is encouraging to see diplomats and industry leaders, legislators and academics, getting together to drive a conversation on common issues and interests. Our goal is to help sustain this dialogue.”  Discussions at the meetings focused on the broad issues of business and policy considerations under H.R.4939, as well as on economic issues (trade, tourism, energy, and financial services), security issues (crime, trafficking, and border controls), and social investment priorities (education and health).

CCAA member companies, Seaboard Marine and Squire Patton Boggs (USA), sponsored the two day event.

Press Inquiries:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / (202) 464-2031

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