Cuba says it won't rejoin OAS while Venezuela threatened with suspension

In a show of solidarity with long-time ally Venezuela, Cuban President Raul Castro says his country will not return to the Organization of American States (OAS), which he recently called “an instrument of imperialist domination.”

Cuba was expelled from the OAS in 1962, but following a recent thaw in relations with the US it was suggested that the Caribbean communist country might return.

Castro nevertheless appeared to rule that out, offering instead “our most firm solidarity to our brothers the Venezuelan people, to the legitimate government of President Nicolas Maduro.”

Maduro is currently locked in a dispute with the OAS over opposition demands in Venezuela for a recall referendum.

OAS Secretary-General Luis Almargo said last week that “the institutional crisis in Venezuela demands immediate changes in the actions of the executive branch.”

He has called an emergency meeting of the OAS at which member states will decide whether to invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which could lead to Venezuela’s suspension from the regional group.

The OAS head wants members to evaluate whether Venezuela has suffered an “unconstitutional alteration of the constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order.”

Venezuelan opposition politicians urged the OAS to call the meeting.

Maduro reacted angrily, accusing the OAS of “foreign intervention” and ordering it to leave Venezuela and the Americas.

He also said he would bring charges against the leaders of Congress who had requested the OAS to intervene, saying they had betrayed the nation.

The Maduro administration has been coming under increasing pressure to work with the opposition-controlled National Assembly to ease the political and economic tension in the South American country.

The two sides have been engaged in a stand-off since the opposition coalition won control of the National Assembly in parliamentary elections in December.

Opposition politicians say their every move is thwarted by the Supreme Court and the National Electoral Council, bodies they allege have been stacked with Maduro supporters.

They say there is no separation of powers and that under Maduro’s leadership and that of his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, the judiciary has become an enforcer of the executive branch.

They point to the fact that the Supreme Court blocked key legislation, such as an amnesty law which would have freed jailed opposition politicians, as evidence of what they say is a misuse of power by Maduro.

Opposition politicians also accuse the president of trying to block a key recall referendum which could see Venezuelans vote on whether they want Maduro to finish his term or be removed from office.

A National Assembly delegation met recently with OAS head Almagro to ask him to invoke the Inter-American democratic charter.

Under the charter, the OAS secretary-general can call a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council to address situations where he or she considers that a member state’s democratic order is at risk.

If two thirds of OAS members consider that Venezuela’s government has undermined democracy, the country will be suspended from the OAS.

The meeting is expected to coincide with the meeting of the OAS General Assembly in the Dominican Republic between 13 and 15 June.

Relations between the OAS and Venezuela have been strained for years but worsened in recent months as Maduro and Almagro traded insults.

Maduro accused the OAS head of being a CIA agent, while Almagro said that preventing the recall referendum from going ahead made Maduro “another petty dictator.”

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

Caribbean states need to work harder on unity, says ACS Secretary General

HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) -- The secretary general of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Alfonso Múnera said that, despite advances in unity by the member states of the bloc, they are not enough to overcome the great challenges the region faces today.

During his opening speech at the seventh ACS summit in Havana on Saturday, Múnera said the Greater Caribbean must deal with decisive moments in the face of huge challenges, since the island nations are at a disadvantage in world markets competing against international multinationals.

He pointed out that a new factor jeopardizes the fate of the region, climate change, because it has a terrible impact on all countries in the Caribbean Sea basin. He mentioned the growing ferocity of hurricanes that wreak havoc in the region, and the loss of useful land to the rising sea levels.

“Only together we will be able to face successfully the problems we have,” he said.

Achieving unity is hard, he acknowledged, and though we have made progress, it is not enough still. He said it was important to create a sense of unity amidst diversity and to build a Caribbean identity that doesn't exclude others, but encourages them.

He ascribed great importance to the ACS to reduce the rising disparity, to reaffirm commitments to peace and to achieve better societies.

Múnera thanked Cuba and especially President Raul Castro for organizing this summit, and the permanent support to the organization

The Colombian diplomat has led the ACS for four years, and will pass the job next August to St Lucia’s Ambassador June Soomer.

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

CARICOM Competition Commission probes CWC takeover of Columbus

CARICOM’s Competition Commission (CCC) has launched an investigation into the acquisition of by Cable and Wireless Communications Plc (CWC) to acquire Columbus International.

“The investigation will focus on the impact of the Agreement on competition in the telecommunications sector of members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) which comprise the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL),” it said in a statement.

“The Commission has appointed an investigating panel…to coordinate the investigation into this matter…The Commission expects to complete the investigation within 120 working days with the cooperation of all stakeholders.”

The Suriname-based CCC said the investigation follows the findings of a preliminary examination of the acquisition agreement.

Following the merger announcement, which saw CWC – at the time trading in the Caribbean as LIME– subsuming the regional operations of Columbus, the parent company of FLOW, ECTEL had expressed concerns about the impact it would have on the telecoms market in the Eastern Caribbean.

In March, it said that negotiations with Cable & Wireless regarding the company’s proposed merger with Columbus Communications International have ended without the parties coming to an amicable agreement.

While existing legislation does not give ECTEL the power to stop or put conditions on mergers and acquisitions in the telecommunications sector, the Authority had been working along with the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commissions (NTRCs) to reach agreement on several issues, ever since the merger was announced in November 2014.

Those issues included: the minimum speed and price for entry level broadband packages; maintaining an open Internet; sharing of telecommunications infrastructure for existing and new entrants to provide new services; and protection provisions to ensure customers are not disadvantaged by new services and pricing to be implemented following the merger.

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

The new faces of the CARILEC Board

The Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation (CARILEC), the association of electric utilities, suppliers, manufactures and other stakeholders operating in the electricity industry in the region, has a new chairman and other directors.

Grenada Electricity Services Ltd (GRENLEC) Chief Executive Officer, Collin Cover to serve as Chairman of the CARILEC Board for the 2016-2018 term, at CARILEC’s recent 28th Annual General Meeting in Grand Cayman.

Cover is an accomplished energy professional with over 35 years’ industry experience. He also served as Vice Chairman of the CARILEC board from 2015-2016.

During the meeting, directors whose term had expired were elected to renew their positions, and two additional directors – Bertilia Le Blanc- McKenzie, General Manager of Dominica Electricity Services Ltd (DOMLEC) and Franklin Hoevertsz, Managing Director of Utilities Aruba – were elected to serve on the board.

At the previously held Associate Member Caucus, Gianni Moreno was appointed Associate Member representative on the CARILEC Board, and Edmund Phillip as Alternate Associate Member Representative.

CARILEC Board of Directors:

Collin Cover, Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. – Chairman

Jeffrey Locke, Belize Electricity Ltd. – Vice Chairman

Peter Williams, Barbados Light and Power Company Ltd.

Trevor Louisy, St. Lucia Electricity Services Ltd.

Thornley Myers, St. Vincent Electricity Services, Ltd.

Walter Higgins, Bermuda Electric Light Co.

Eddinton Powell, Fortis TCI Ltd. (Turks & Caicos)

Leroy Abraham, BVI Electricity Corp.

Kevin Basden, Bahamas Electricity Corp.

Cartwright Farrell, St. Kitts Electricity Co., Ltd.

Kelly Tomlin, Jamaica Public Services Ltd.

Bertilia Le Blanc-McKenzie, Dominica Electricity Services Ltd.

Courtenay Mark, Trinidad & Tobago Electricity Commission

Thomas Hodge – CARILEC Executive Director

Gianni Moreno, ABB Power Products and Power Systems

Edmund Philips, Wartsila

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

Caribbean countries expanding share in US$130 billion global seafood market

BELIZE CITY, Belize (CRFM) -- Caribbean economies are poised to benefit from a region-wide initiative to expand seafood market share, through the implementation of food safety measures to enable countries to get a bigger piece of the global pie, worth an estimated US$130 billion annually.

Caribbean countries, including The Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, are now capitalizing on a coordinated approach to broaden the gateway to the growing market. CARIFORUM (CARICOM and the Dominican Republic) now exports about US$400 million worth of fish and seafood annually.

Belize and Jamaica are two Caribbean seafood exporters already tapping into markets controlled by the European Union (EU) -- a tough market to access because of stringent standards that require countries have systems in place to ensure that their exports are not only safe for consumption but also free from harmful pests and pathogens.

In the case of Belize, which has traditionally exported shrimp to the EU, it is moving to export conch to that market for the first time, according to Endhir Sosa, senior food safety inspector, Belize.

Sosa was among the 18 professionals from CARIFORUM who recently received management training on sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) in Iceland. The training was offered under the capacity-building component of an EU-sponsored project to implement SPS Measures under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) regime. The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are collaborating to implement the fisheries component of the project.

Demystifying SPS

Sosa broke down the meaning of this very technical term, which could just as well be the acronym for ‘safe and profitable seafood’.

“In a nutshell, it’s just a series of procedures, of guidelines, of requirements, that one needs to implement to basically prove that what they are producing is safe,” the food safety expert commented.

“Confidence is what is key! It is what everybody seeks when it comes to the purchase and consumption of food products,” he said, adding, “SPS is one of those routes where you can establish that confidence in your product.”

Sosa noted, “Once you have an established SPS system in place and it is vetted and it’s shown to be functional, that will open markets locally, regionally and internationally.”

This has been the case for Belize.

“When BAHA [the Belize Agricultural Health Authority] first started in 2000, you could count the number of countries we were exporting to on your hand. It wasn’t more than 5 to 7. Today, thanks to SPS, thanks to the confidence that our SPS program has put into our products, not only fish, the markets have increased almost three-fold. Now we have a little over 30 markets,” Sosa said.

Building SPS capacity

Chairman of the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, Denzil Roberts, who is also the chief fisheries officer in Guyana, noted: “The fisheries sector within the CARIFORUM region continues to play an important role in rural development, food and nutrition security, income generation and foreign exchange earnings. However, it must be recognized that there is a paucity of skilled personnel within the region to further develop the sector in keeping with the emerging challenges.”

The intensive two-week training course recently held in Iceland served to help fill this knowledge gap in the Caribbean.

Susan Singh-Renton, the CRFM’s deputy executive director, noted, “The CRFM/UNU-FTP SPS Management Course has been very successful in achieving its objective of exposing CARIFORUM Fisheries and Agricultural Health and Food Safety experts to the key lessons and best practices of the Icelandic fishing industry in producing safe and wholesome fishery products of an international standard.”

She added, “At the close of the course, participants reflected on and also documented how they would apply what they had learned to improve fisheries SPS management in their home countries.”

Jeannette Mateo, director of fisheries resources at the Dominican Council for Fisheries and Aquaculture (CODOPESCA) in the Dominican Republic, suggested that nationals in her country, such as biologists, inspectors, fisheries officers and consumer protection agents, should be trained in basic concepts of SPS.

For his part, Roberts hopes that the trainees will immediately begin to impart what they have learned to others in their national networks. Roberts furthermore hopes that trainees will implement internationally recognized safety standards for seafood, thereby safeguarding the health of the local population while ensuring market access to meet global market demands.

Singh-Renton said that the CRFM will also strive to do its part to provide follow-up regional support for improved SPS management for the region's fishing industries, including facilitating continued networking among the course participants.

Gatekeepers guard against food fraud

“One of the more frequent but often overlooked problems within the Caribbean is food fraud and mislabeling,” noted Dr Wintorph Marsden, senior veterinary officer in Jamaica’s ministry of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries.

Marsden said that Jamaica is considered a major transshipment hub for fish and fishery products to the wider Caribbean region, and so the burden is on Jamaica, as a first point of entry, to implement a system of verification of products entering its food chain.

To combat food fraud, it is an absolute necessity to introduce traceability, said Marsden. This can now be done electronically, with modern systems of recording, such as the use barcodes, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and other tracking media within the production chain.

In the Dominican Republic, Mateo’s job is to review all the supporting documentation for seafood imports and exports.

She observed, though, “Some of these documents might have statements to make the consumers believe that they are getting a high-quality product while they are actually getting products with less quality and deliberate mislabeling.”

An example, she said, is fish from the genus Pangasius, a catfish primarily sourced from the Asian market, which is being sold cheaply in the region and marketed at times as “grouper” -- not only at supermarkets but also at some restaurants.

“While in Iceland, I learned that deliberate mislabeling of food, the substitution of products with cheaper alternatives, and false statements about the origin of foods, are all food fraud,” Mateo said.

“This is relevant to the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean, where imported fish are in some cases marketed at lower prices than the local ones, not only due to the lower production cost of fish products such as tilapia and Pangasius (catfish – sold as ‘basa’ or ‘swai’) in comparison with those produced in the country, but also because of unfair practices in trade,” Mateo said.

She said that as a result of the Iceland training, the Dominican Republic is now in the final stage of building an improved national SPS system for fishery and aquaculture products which was initiated with the support of the government of Chile.

Safe and healthy food also vital at home

Whereas the move to implement SPS measures was originally focused on export trade, regional experts also indicate that they are vital to food safety and health even within the region.

“The Caribbean is known to be a huge importer of food products,” Sosa noted. “We have to look after our population, we have to look after the health of our people, we have to look after the health of our environment and our agricultural products; and thus SPS -- although at this point it is mostly the industrialized countries that are pushing it, that are requiring it—should be really and truly across the board.”

Science-based risk assessment and risk analysis of imports are also key in protecting vital agriculture and fisheries industries.

“We have been mandated with the task of being the gatekeepers when it comes to food safety and agricultural health and we take that responsibility very seriously. Sometimes the public will get angry with us, because they truly don’t understand why we are doing this. ‘Why can’t I bring this across the border?’ But the realization is that if a disease [is introduced], it could potentially destroy an entire industry -- whether it be, for example, bringing across poultry with avian influenza, or bringing in diseased shrimp—it could wipe out an entire multi-million-dollar industry,” Sosa warned.

Positioning small producers for export

Sosa noted that SPS measures were initially geared towards industrial markets but now they are encouraging small producers to position themselves for export by implementing SPS measures.

“They might not have the finance to construct an elaborate facility, but we can start with the basics,” said Sosa, pointing to “good manufacturing practices and the sanitation standard operating procedures,” which, he said, would build confidence in products from even small producers.

More importantly, he said, implementing SPS measures is the first step that producers will need to make to even think about trading on the world market.

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

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.

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.

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:

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
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited
DHL Express
Dow Chemical Company
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA)
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
World Economic Forum (WEF)
World SME Forum
W.J. Towell & Co.


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

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