The CAIC represents the interests of the Caribbean Private Sector at a variety of regional and international meetings on economic, social and environmental policy. The changing global economy no longer succumbs to national policy. The Caribbean Private Sector, more than ever, must wrestle with many challenges at a regional level and this is achieved only through advocacy and interaction with major international and regional economic and governmental agencies.
It is at these meetings that the CAIC is able to articulate and seek support for its members' views on a variety of issues. These include private sector positions for trade arrangements (including the CSME and EPA), development of a Regional Capital Market, establishment of regional regulatory bodies, air and sea transportation, regional development programmes requiring external funding, the latest legislation on Occupation Health Safety and the Environment and many others.
These initiatives all emphasise the need for one body which can ensure that the needs of the Caribbean Private Sector are effectively represented. With globalisation and increased competition, the Caribbean Private Sector must work together, learn from the expertise of one another and network amongst ourselves to maximise our ability to compete powerfully. It is the only path to survival.
We currently have members in 20 Caribbean countries inclusive of:
Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
St Kitts & Nevis
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Our members include:
National private sector organisations across the region
Transnational companies with offices across the Caribbean
Local companies with operations in one country only
Various education and sectoral business groups
Our interaction with other private sector representatives at the national level
We do not seek to replicate private sector representation at a national level which is undertaken by the respective chambers and associations (except as a supporting voice where appropriate), but to impact upon the development, growth and competitive positioning of the Caribbean business environment as international and regional policy developments are being developed for implementation.
What makes the CAIC different from any other representative body
Experience has shown that governments require the expertise and support of the private sector as a critical input to national and regional transformation. Whilst there are locally based associations in most countries to represent the private sector nationally, the CAIC is the only accredited private sector umbrella association operating at a regional level. As a result, the CAIC has access to various government organs and international agencies, which the local associations do not. The CAIC is strategically placed to influence regional government policies in creating the type of business climate that seeks to foster investment. The CAIC is the means by which Caribbean businesses can ensure that there is a representative which can bring a private sector perspective and ensure that practical business realities are taken into consideration by:
the bodies that inform policy makers;
by policy makers themselves; and
by the external agencies that seek to provide assistance to the region.
What else do we offer
1. We can provide links with all the Caribbean Chambers of Commerce, Manufacturers Association, and National Associations, which have the information and contact you need to facilitate business in their markets.
2. We can network with key business personalities in the Caribbean Private Sector by providing information on the key players in an industry, arranging meetings and facilitating contact, if not through your attendance at meetings then by direct introduction. This is facilitated by the fact that we have on our regional Board of Directors, respected business leaders and industry gurus in
each of our member states.
3. We can provide information on the latest developments in policies and policy initiatives before they are implemented as they may affect businesses operating within the region.
4. We can ensure that your view is expressed at a variety of decision making bodies including:
The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED)
CARICOM Head of Government Conference
Various working groups of CARICOM
Americas Business Forum
Agencies of the United Nations
Caribbean Central America Action (CCAA) formerly CLAA
Agencies of the European Union
Free Trade Association of the America (FTAA)
The Caribbean is poised for growth. Without an organisation such as the CAIC, Caribbean businesses can depend only on the representation that is available at a national level, while much is being determined at regional and international levels. Beyond our individual shores, the CAIC has a seat at the table where major policy initiatives are formulated and where our national private sector organisations are not directly represented.
We wish to record our collective gratitude to the Secretary General for his renewed energy and purposefulness to engage us at this time and wish to bring to the fore matters that are affecting us Regionally.
Non Tariff Barriers: Caribbean manufacturers still suffer from various incountry SPS standards that are unrecognizable and those that exist for the purpose of blocking trade to ward off competition from different jurisdictions. The Private Sector does not feel this single space at the moment.
The CAIC Agenda is to push Business to Business ACTIVITY THAT is sustainable and predictive whilst playing by the rules of fair competition in each member states.
The CAIC IS MORPHING INTO a new Private Sector BODY that is better organized, nimble on its feet and ready to do business anywhere in the World and where the same rules apply from cottage industries to Conglomerates. This is the only way to ensure that small Companies morph into medium and larger Companies.
WE Support the engagements of many sectors of the Caribbean Economy and we believe that this is a good start,we need to flatten the engagements with the Private Sector as we are doing today,our engagements can then have more meaning and no one will be left out. While it is easier for the Secretariat to deal with a few organisations there is more purpose in dealing with many and even national organisations on specific issues.
The recognition that the information technology and knowledge economies are critical to the overall advancement of the region and therefore will actively encourage and lobby for the continued growth and development of these economic sectors. Critical support of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) to ensure that economic space is always available for their growth, development and eventual evolution to becoming larger business or even conglomerates.
Support of the expansion of the capital markets so to develop a Caribbean investor class and to provide alternative sources for funding for start ups and existing businesses. The implementation of policy and supporting legislation for the expansion of capital markets as part of building a Caribbean investor class and also source of funds for start ups and existing businesses.
We would like to set up a private sector desk in the Secretariat that we would have access to at all times. The reaction time of the Secretariat IS CRUCIAL TO Private Sector success and Growth. We call for the previously successful engagements with the Ministers of Finance and Trade with the Private Sector to be urgently re-established.
We need to address the realities of New Economic successes in the Region and clearly establish an inventory of agreements and therefore opportunities that exist at the moment for the Private Sector to access whilst promoting the old adage that we must exploit the Comparative advantage that exist in our collective territories we have to push the Private Sector towards a Caribbean Economic Plan. How do we use the Natural endowments of various Nations to compliment the other?
How do we incentivise the Private Sector at a Regional level for growth.
We should have a few Business leaders on the newly formed Commission on the Economy. An Economic Plan is a plan for the Private Sector.
We are concerned about trading with the EU territories especially the seeming blockages that are displayed by some territories. We are also concerned that our negotiators are thirsty for some form of agreement in the Canada/CARICOM negotiations and would hate to think that the agricultural or manufacturing sectors are sacrificed on the altar of expediency.
We would like to suggest that a joint meeting be held between the Caricom Secretariat, the CAIC and the Caribbean Shipping Association to address shipping policies (e.g. Peak Season Surcharges, Demurrage Deposits etc.) that continue to daily impact the Regional Private Sector and by extension Caricom consumers. The challenges exist around excessive Surcharges e.g. the Peak Season Surcharge comes into effect every single year before Christmas and other busy seasons. The Caribbean Shipowners Association operates under a wartime Act enacted by the USA many years ago; in the context of today's competitive yet collaborative environment we would like to discuss means by which we can engender mutually beneficial partnerships. This needs to be lobbied at the highest levels.
Another challenge is demurrage on containers. While we accept that demurrage is necessary, there are conditions of operation across the region which need to be taken into account. In many Ports cruise ships take precedence over cargo. Most of our Ports do not operate on a 24 hour basis therefore there are often long delays in clearing containers. The larger importers are allowed 20+ days to return their containers while smaller companies are allowed as little as 7 days. As an example; clearing containers in Barbados take up to 11 days for manufacturers. Hence a container is already incurring demurrage before it leaves the Port. Some
members of the CSA have now started to charge demurrage deposits but we have been advised that this is illegal.
There are mixed views around the Caribbean about the Talks.