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ICC welcomes new dialogue with WTO; highlights options for multilateral trade talks

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has today welcomed the conclusion of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) first ever dialogue with the business community as an important step towards strengthening the global trade agenda.

The dialogue was initiated off the back of the successful outcome of the WTO's ministerial conference in Nairobi last December, and in response to growing concern within the global business community about faltering global trade growth.

Addressing WTO members, ICC's First Vice-Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said: "To be clear: business wants predictable, modern and up-to-date multilateral trade rules, negotiated and agreed at the WTO… Trade is expected to grow by less than 3% for the fifth consecutive year in 2016. We should not accept this as the new normal and we are ready to work constructively with WTO members to restore trade as a central driver of global growth."

The first-of-its-kind event identified a broad range of possible WTO initiatives to help boost trade-led inclusive growth. These included:

SME growth
Business leaders encouraged the WTO to explore possible initiatives to make trade easier for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), going beyond trade facilitation reforms to identify where harmonized rules and end-to-end standards can help small businesses access global markets. Access to financing was also highlighted as a priority to support SME trade growth.

Investment
Many participants in the dialogue expressed an interest in a new WTO dialogue to explore the scope for global standards in the field of investment promotion, protection and facilitation.

Sectoral liberalisation
The dialogue highlighted an interest from a range of sectors in pursuing sector-specific talks as a complement to the ongoing Doha Round.

E-commerce
There was a strong call from business leaders for the WTO to play a central role in underpinning an open, reliable and secure global digital economy. Participants expressed particular interest in possible "e-commerce negotiations" which could encompass a broad range of issues such as customs duties, electronic signatures, data protection and localization requirements.

Addressing WTO members, ICC's First Vice-Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said: "To be clear: business wants predictable, modern and up-to-date multilateral trade rules, negotiated and agreed at the WTO."

Speaking on the systemic importance of an e-commerce initiative, Mr Mittal said: "The global nature of e-commerce means that the WTO has a vital role to play in the further development of rules and standards for this area. E-commerce has the potential to revolutionise global trade flows. Today, even the smallest of businesses can go global if they can access the internet."

At the conclusion of the dialogue, ICC has called on WTO members to maintain contacts with the business community in taking forward possible new trade talks and initiatives.

ICC Secretary General John Danilovich said: "We have seen a positive discussion today about how we can work together to maximise the contribution of trade and investment to achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development. We hope that today's initiative can be followed up with concrete steps including further meetings of this kind. ICC stands ready to support this dialogue in any way possible."

Business leaders call for WTO to address pressing business issues

Business leaders meeting today (30 May 2016) at the WTO headquarters outlined how the organization could address the current needs of the business community. In addition to the current negotiating agenda, they urged the WTO to look at a wide range of issues such as electronic commerce, rules to better facilitate services and investment flows, support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, action to provide trade finance, and many others.

The Trade Dialogues event brought together over 60 business leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face in conducting trade operations and to discuss how the WTO can help in dealing with them. The attendees were from small and large enterprises, from developed and developing countries, and from a variety of sectors. The event was held at the request of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the B20 group of leading independent business associations from G20 economies, and facilitated by the WTO. The businesses that participated in the event are listed below.

This high-level event for the business community is the first of its kind to be held at the WTO. It is part of a series of ‘Trade dialogues’ that will provide a range of stakeholders with the possibility to discuss their concerns on trade-related matters.

Participants were welcomed by WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. This opening session was followed by break-out sessions where participants engaged in a focused dialogue in small groups. These sessions were chaired by four ’discussion leaders’:

Sunil Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti enterprises, and First Vice Chairman of the ICC
Frank Ning, Chairman of Sinochem and Chair of the B20 trade and investment taskforce
Carole Kariuki, CEO of KEPSA, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, and
Kati Suominen, Founder and CEO of TradeUp.
The participants then reconvened and shared their conclusions in a direct exchange with the Director-General and the chairman of the WTO General Council, Ambassador Harald Neple. At a working lunch, the views of other important stakeholders, such as consumers, represented by Consumers International, and labour, represented by the International Trade Union Confederation, were also heard.

At the final session, the discussion leaders and other participants shared the outcome of their deliberations with the WTO membership through a dialogue with ambassadors and permanent representatives.

A summary of the issues raised at the meeting is available here.

DG Azevêdo said:

“After two successful WTO ministerial conferences, there has been a resurgence of private sector interest in the work of the organization. I have seen this at all of the major meetings I’ve attended, and in the many capitals I’ve visited around the world over the last six months. This growing engagement is very welcome. Trade negotiations do not occur in a vacuum, so I think it is important for WTO members to hear directly from business on the challenges they face in the real economy — as well as from consumers and workers, and other voices in civil society.

“So, when I was approached by the ICC and B20 earlier this year to facilitate a dialogue between business leaders and WTO members, I thought that it would be a great opportunity. We have had over 60 participants today, from six continents, and I’m pleased to say that the exchanges have been of a very high quality. We have heard some fascinating insights on the issues that businesses face in the trading system — particularly smaller enterprises — and ideas on how those issues might be tackled.”

Sunil Mittal, First Vice Chairman of the ICC, said:

“We must do the utmost to put into operation the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which has the potential to bring enormous benefits to the world economy. We must make sure that this agreement is ratified and implemented as soon as possible. The WTO needs to develop rules and standards to make sure that the efficient growth of e-commerce is secured, since it has the potential to revolutionize trade flows around the world.”

Frank Ning, Chair of the B20, said:

“The future accomplishments of the WTO will be critical in achieving a more efficient and friendly business environment, and a more inclusive and sustainable global economy.” ​

Carole Kariuki, of the Kenyan Private Sector Alliance, said:

“Trade is an integral part of the equation in generating growth and creating jobs and the WTO plays a vital role in ensuring that governments comply with the commitments they have made in making trade easier.”

Kati Suominen, of TradeUp, said:

“A World Trade Organization in the 21st century can only succeed if it engages those that trade across borders every day - businesses, small and big. As world trade changes and digitizes, WTO’s rulemaking, research, and capacity building functions need to be bolstered and adjusted to meet the needs of its private sector stakeholders. This can help unlock the power of trade, disruptive technologies, e-commerce, and FDI to drive inclusive growth, job creation and sustainable development.”

The companies and organisations represented at the event were:

Apex-Brasil
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)
Bharti Enterprises Limited
Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH
Boniswa Corporate Solutions
BT Group
B20 China
Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC)
Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Coteminas
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
DHL Express
DIAGEO
Dow Chemical Company
eBay
Embraer
Fonterra
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA)
Maersk
MasterCard
National Petrochemical Industrial Company (NATPET)
Nestle Skin Health S.A.
Nestlé S.A.
Orascom Telecom
Oryspa Spa Solutions Inc.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Silicor Materials
Singapore Business Federation
Sinochem Group
Syndicat des Industries de Madagascar
S&P Global
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
Teyseer Group of Companies
TradeUp Capital Fund
UBS
World Economic Forum (WEF)
World SME Forum
W.J. Towell & Co.

WTO

CARICOM-US discuss threat of lawsuit over queen conch

BELIZE CITY, Belize (CRFM) -- Officials from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United States advanced talks in Washington last week at the seventh annual meeting of the CARICOM-US Trade and Investment Council, on several key concerns affecting trade between the US and the region, chief among them being the threat of a lawsuit by US-based NGOs over the harvesting of queen conch for trade. The threat of the suit is of great concern to the region, which exports roughly US$185 million worth of conch meat a year.

In February 2016, WildEarth Guardians and Friends of Animals notified the Secretary of Commerce and the Administrator of NOAA of their intention to sue the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service / NOAA Fisheries, and their officers and directors over the government’s decision back in 2014 not to list the queen conch as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), which was represented at the meeting by its executive director, Milton Haughton, maintained that the petition is unjustified, as it is based on outdated and erroneous information. A listing that the species is endangered would result in an outright ban, while a listing that it is threatened would lead to more stringent export regulations, among other measures.

The NGO that wants to challenge the decision of the US federal authorities is reputed to have a 77% success rate in lawsuits against the US government.

In studying the impact of litigation by the NGO, US researchers, Dr Ryan M. Yonk of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at the Southern Utah University and Dr Randy T. Simmons of the Department of Economics and Finance at Utah State University, found that the litigation, which has mostly been over land issues in the US, could jeopardize industries representing over US$3 billion in local economies.

However, US authorities have indicated that they will defend their position on the queen conch. CARICOM states will, meanwhile, be monitoring this situation closely.

At the Washington meeting, the parties also discussed US measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and their potential impact on the region. A presidential task force was established two years ago to develop recommendations for “a Comprehensive Framework to Combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud.”

CARICOM noted that the new measures being introduced to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud could have significant negative consequences for the export of fish and seafood from CARICOM to the US market, since importers in the USA and by extension exporters from CARICOM countries targeting the US market, would be required to implement administrative systems to certify that fish and fishery products entering the US market are not from IUU sources.

However, the measures being implemented by the United States could also create opportunities for fish and fish products exported from the region, by reducing the occurrence of IUU fishing in the region by third states and unfair competition.

In the recent meeting, CARICOM officials laid out both their concerns and expectations to the US representatives, including the need for support for fish traders and government fisheries departments so that they could make the necessary reforms to comply with the new US requirements for international trade.

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

Caribbean foreign ministers discussing Cuba, EU, and other issues in St. Vincent

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, Monday May 9, 2016 – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) foreign ministers have convened in St Vincent for the 19th meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), amid the unfolding of a number of major geopolitical issues.

According to the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat, the two-day meeting will provide the ministers with the opportunity for a periodic review of a range of diplomatic matters involving CARICOM’s relations with international organisations and third countries.

“COFCOR will examine the implications for the Caribbean Community of several emerging issues including the reshaping of the United States relations with Cuba and the pending British referendum on European Union membership,” the statement said.

“As the Community seeks to reinforce relations with multilateral organisations, COFCOR will discuss matters regarding the United Nations, the Organisation of American States, The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).”

The statement added that the ministers will also seek to forge and strengthen ties with third states including Brazil, Japan, Sweden and The Netherlands on issues of mutual interests.

“Following on the heels of last week’s Ninth UK-Caribbean Forum in The Bahamas, CARICOM Foreign Ministers will devote part of their meeting to discussing the critical elements emanating from that engagement.

“The meeting will also discuss border issues, and a range of bilateral topics involving Mexico, Cuba and the Nordic States, and the Unites States,” the statement said.

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

CARICOM Human Resource Development Commission launches Thursday in Barbados

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- A commission charged with creating a human resource development strategy for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will be launched on Thursday in Barbados. The ceremony will be hosted at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

hrd.jpg CARICOM heads of government took the decision to establish the commission at their twenty-fifth intersessional meeting in 2014. The commission has 17 specialists and other stakeholders in education and human resource development, and its work is supported by the CARICOM Secretariat, as coordinator, and CDB, which is financing the establishment of a gender-responsive and socially inclusive CARICOM strategy for harmonised education reform.

The Regional Education and Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy and Action Plan (the Regional HRD Strategy), which the commission will shape, is intended to form the basis for converged action by member states. It is expected that the commission will also develop policy recommendations for education reform in CARICOM member states.

The commission will also engage short-term expertise to collect and analyse data to inform the development of the strategy. It will also host two four-day regional education sector monitoring and evaluation meetings to promote ownership of, and build capacity in monitoring and evaluation at the national level.

Following the development of the strategy and action plan, the commission will be expected to operationalise the structure for coordinating, monitoring and reporting.

Speakers at next Thursday’s launch will include CARICOM assistant secretary-general, human and social development, Dr Douglas Slater, a representative from the CDB, a member of the HRD Commission and one of the two CARICOM Youth Ambassadors from Barbados. There will also be a question and answer session for the media to engage the commission on various aspects of its mandate.

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

US-based Caribbean bank under consideration

By Caribbean News Now contributor

BASSETERRE, St Kitts -- The region is being urged to look into the feasibility of establishing a Caribbean bank in the United States to address the loss of correspondent banking services being experienced by banks in the Caribbean.

Deputy governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Trevor Brathwaite said that’s an option that can’t be ignored, WINN reported.

“In London there are a number of banks that are owned by foreign nationals from other countries and so it’s doable. The feasibility study ought to say once you look at the terms of reference for the feasibility study the modality for establishing a Caribbean bank let’s say in New York, it could be an outright purchase or maybe a second tier bank or the establishment of a bank by private interest collectively,” Brathwaite said.

ECCB governor Timothy Antoine said the option is not a far-fetched one.

Caribbean governments, indigenous banks and offshore banks located in the Caribbean are extremely concerned about the withdrawal of correspondent relations from Caribbean banks by banks in the US.

Their concern arises from the fact that, if all correspondent banking relations are withdrawn, the region will be isolated from the rest of the world and will be unable to carry out the most basic of bank transactions.

According to Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the US, Sir Ronald Sanders, what has caused the withdrawal of correspondent relations to the Caribbean and the other regions identified above is the huge penalties that US banks would have to pay if any incidence of money laundering, terrorism financing, or tax evasion passed through them from their respondent banks.

Regulatory and enforcement agencies have dealt harshly with such incidents, creating a strong deterrent to taking risks. The simplest form of “de-risking” is to terminate correspondent banking relations.

“Establishing a Caribbean-owned agency in the US to provide correspondent relations for regional banks is not impossible, though it is difficult and will require investment in time, money and professional advice,” Sanders said earlier this year.

“But, there is no swift or easy solution to the present problem. If Caribbean banks believe that there is no risk to US banks in the provision of correspondent relations, then they should be prepared to take the risk themselves by setting up their own agency to facilitate their business,” he added.

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

'Frank and cordial' talks at CARICOM-UK Forum

FREEPORT, Bahamas -- Foreign ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the British foreign secretary ended two sessions of “frank and cordial” talks in Freeport, The Bahamas at the Ninth Caribbean-UK Forum.

Co-chairs Fred Mitchell, foreign minister of The Bahamas, and Phillip Hammond, UK foreign secretary, both expressed their satisfaction at the discussions during a press conference on Saturday at the end of the biennial Forum.

Mitchell indicated that the range of issues that engaged the ministers included climate change, health, financial services, correspondent banking, security and border threats. He announced that there would be six-monthly follow-up meetings at the level of senior officials on both sides prior to the next Forum scheduled for the UK in 2018.

Hammond, who had announced assistance to the region for the fight against the zika virus at the opening ceremony on Friday night, stated the relations with CARICOM countries were important to the UK.

In reference to climate change, the foreign secretary said there was work still to be done despite the signing of the Paris Agreement on 22 April. He said the UK was committed to helping achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, a key element of the Community’s position on climate change.

The foreign secretary said he recognised the legitimacy of the financial services offered in the offshore financial sector. However, there were, he said, people who abused the services offered for illegitimate purposes. He added that it was important to ensure that these centres could not be accused of aiding and abetting such actions.

Mitchell pointed out that after the discussions on the issue there was a more complete understanding of the financial services sector in the region and everyone was clear there were no ”negative moral implications” about the sector.

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

LIAT, taxes and tourism: Rebalancing the tax burden

by: Robert Maclellan

LIAT has been a vital factor in the commercial and tourism life blood of the Caribbean for decades. However, the company has now had three CEO’s and two Acting CEO’s in the last seven years, evidence of LIAT’s challenges.

Commentary on its unfathomable financial strategy, its lack of published accounts and its, arguably, unnecessary and hugely expensive fleet replacement is already well published. The perception over many years of poor operations management, ineffective marketing and gross over staffing has made the LIAT brand a liability, rather than an asset, in the international airline world. I will not add further here to the list of woes.

Given the ongoing expansion of three competitor airlines in the Eastern Caribbean, it is possible that LIAT will soon succumb to private sector competition or, maybe, a merger can save it. In any event, one significant challenge remains for LIAT and its competitor Caribbean based airlines.

To quote David Evans, LIAT’s newly departed CEO, “I can give you many examples of journeys around the region where the tax on the ticket is the same amount as the ticket.” Evans continued, “We will sell you a ticket for US$100 dollars in LIAT but you will actually pay US$200 for it because the other $100 will be tax. That’s an extreme example but by and large 40 to 50 per cent of all the tickets that we sell, that proportion is the amount of tax so that’s a major issue.”

The tax situation Evans refers to above is one of the more obvious examples of Caribbean governments targeting the “stay-over” visitor as part of their attempt to balance budgets in these continuing difficult economic circumstances. The various airline ticket taxes place a significant financial burden on business people travelling between the islands and on tourists from within and outside the region. The result is that the volume of Caribbean inter island air traffic has declined steeply over the last decade and the law of diminishing returns surely applies to the associated tax revenues.

A similar situation exists with Caribbean hotels, where several governments in the region have again increased hotel occupancy taxes, imposing a direct additional cost for those same “stay-over” visitors – business people and tourists. Hotel room taxes now average well over 10% across the Caribbean. Given the very high operating costs of hotels, particularly for smaller properties on the smaller islands, any additional occupancy tax cannot be absorbed within their room rates. The overall tax burden is part of the reason why there is a significant lack of re-investment in many Caribbean hotels with a consequent reduction in their level of competiveness in an ever tougher global market place.

Under financial pressure, many governments have reduced their tourism boards’ destination marketing budgets, which also most directly impacts the smaller hotels and the smaller islands. By contrast, Sandals remains successful because of its high budget direct consumer marketing and its economies of scale, although even that company has had to implement some cost reduction strategies over recent years.

At the same time, on most Caribbean islands, hotels represent the largest percentage of private sector employers and, consequently, drive the largest part of income tax revenue and national insurance contributions. The hotel sector is also a significant generator of government revenue from import duties, corporation tax, property taxes and VAT (where applicable). “Stay-over” visitors spend significant amounts of money on hotels and restaurants – revenue which is quickly and widely dispersed throughout an island economy. Many economists might argue that, as the largest earners of foreign currency in many islands, hotels should enjoy greater fiscal benefits as an “export” industry.

With justification, Caribbean governments will argue that they are under enormous pressure to balance budgets and need to increase tax revenues in order to provide an adequate standard of public sector services to their citizens. However, there is one obvious target where tax revenue could be increased from a sector of the tourism industry, other than the “milk cow” of the Caribbean’s hotels and airlines.

That sector is the cruise line industry, which currently makes a much lesser direct economic contribution in most islands than the local hotels and airlines.

Cruise lines have transformed their business model in recent years – larger, more cost efficient ships with more onboard facilities and lower ticket prices. These changes have resulted in 82% of the discretionary spend of a cruise ship passenger now being captured onboard. That change, combined with shorter stays in ports and lower budget passengers means that many cruise passengers avoid hiring a taxi ashore and they spend much less money in island shops, bars or restaurants. Over the last two decades cruise lines have increased their share of shore excursion prices from 10% to 50%, resulting in a further decrease in local island company revenue.

Through this transformation in their business model, cruise lines have become hugely more profitable, operating high occupancies on a year round basis – winter in the Caribbean’s high season, summer in Alaska or the Mediterranean. Cruise ships operate in a virtual no tax / low tax “offshore” financial environment with lower build costs and operating costs than an equivalent Caribbean resort. However, no Caribbean government in recent times has increased the level of port taxes on cruise ships.

The very low port taxes currently levied in the Caribbean total only 12 – 15% of the cruise ticket price and that percentage total is shared between the governments of all the islands visited on any particular cruise itinerary, say, 3% per port. Compare that low percentage with the 100% tax burden imposed on almost half of LIAT flight itineraries and the average 10%+ for hotel room taxes per night.

Three multi-billion dollar cruise line corporations own over 80% of the ships visiting Caribbean ports. They are tough negotiators and employ skilled public relations people. Every Caribbean government would need to come together, maybe through CARICOM, to negotiate higher port taxes but the cruise lines can afford to pay more. Ports in Alaska, New England, Canada and Bermuda have all negotiated higher rates in recent years. On New England / Canada cruise itineraries, port taxes can represent up to 33% of the cruise ticket price.

Today, around 60% of the world’s cruise ships spend the winter in the Caribbean. In spite of the cruise lines’ bluster, currently there is no alternative to the Caribbean for them – a winter cruising area with a high level of differentiated tourism infrastructure and port facilities, located close to North America and Western Europe, which are the major outbound cruise markets.

No sane person wants to see cruise ships leave the Caribbean but the cruise lines could, and should, make a greater contribution to Caribbean government tax revenues. A rebalancing of the tax burden would assist the Caribbean’s own airlines and hotels to improve, expand and achieve a greater level of economic sustainability.

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

ECLAC proposes climate-changed based debt alleviation strategy for Caribbean

ECLAC has called for the creation of a Caribbean Resilience Fund as part of a debt alleviation strategy based on a climate change swap proposal.

“The swap will involve the use of pledged climate funds to write down the public debt of Caribbean countries and create the financing necessary to fund climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives and investment in green economies, which in turn will be administered through a Caribbean Resilience Fund,” Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, during the recent meeting of the Caribbean Development Roundtable (CDR), in St. Kitts.

The proposal stems from the recognition that while Caribbean countries are among the most highly indebted countries in the world, the high debt dilemma was linked to external shocks, compounded by the inherent structural weaknesses and vulnerabilities confronting Caribbean SIDS with limited capacity to respond. Many Caribbean countries belong to the middle income category, which constraints their access to concessionary funding.

Addressing government officials and representatives of numerous regional and international organizations during the opening of the CDR, the most senior authority of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) presented a proposal on debt for climate adaptation swaps, which detailed a strategy for the growth and economic transformation of Caribbean economies, in light of the heavy debt burden being faced in the subregion.

Bárcena explained that resources from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) could be used to write down Caribbean public debt from multilateral and bilateral lenders, and to buy back debt from private creditors at a steep discount. With the newly found fiscal space, Caribbean governments would then make payments into the Caribbean Resilience Fund, which would in turn be used to finance resilience capacity building in climate change mitigation and adaptation, and invest in green economies.

ECLAC’s debt for climate adaptation swaps proposal calls for donors to use pledged resources from the (GCF) to finance a gradual write-down of 100 per cent of the Caribbean Small Island Developing States’ (SIDS) multilateral debt stock held at various multilateral institutions as well as the bilateral debt stock of Member States.

Responding to Bárcena’s presentation, Acting Prime Minister Vance Amory contended that “one cannot downplay the potential negative impact of climate change on our fragile economies and our ability to provide future economic growth”.

In that regard, he said, “we have to put together a cohesive approach so that we can have the desired response to the need to pay our debt”.

Discussions during the CDR also focused on prospects for pursuing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Caribbean.

Bárcena emphasized that the current debt overhang and environment of fiscal constraint makes it almost impossible for Caribbean governments to make the desired public sector investment in green industries, which would stimulate growth and promote economic transformation in the Caribbean. The debt for climate swap proposal is intended as a strategy to create the fiscal space for such public investment.

Participants in the Roundtable highlighted a number of critical issues that increased the vulnerability of Caribbean SIDS, notably climate change and a range of social challenges, including population ageing, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) the persistence of poverty and inequality, high youth unemployment, the loss of skills through emigration, and low technological capacity. They said those concerns would have to be addressed through SDG implementation.

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

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