Single market likely in 15 months--Arthur

Stabroek News
October 29, 1999

Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur, speaking on Wednesday on behalf of other CARICOM Heads of Government, said it was believed the framework for CARICOM's Single Market and Economy (CSME) would be in place within 15 months.

"At a previous CARICOM Heads Conference in Grand Anse, Grenada, it was agreed that the original concept in the Treaty of Chaguaramas of a limited common market must be replaced by a single market and economy and all that entailed," Arthur explained.

The original common market concept did not provide for the movement of labour and capital or the establishment by individual countries of regional enterprises or the movement of services. To do this, the Treaty of Chaguaramas would have to be amended, Arthur explained during the press conference at the end of the Heads Special Meeting in Chaguaramas on Wednesday.

During this conference, the final outcome of which is to be known as the "Consensus of Chaguaramas", member states signed seven of nine protocols amending the Treaty to make way for a single market and economy.

The two protocols not signed, because of disagreement over an important clause, dealt with competition and a mechanism for the settlement of disputes. These will continue to engage the attention of the inter-governmental task force established for this purpose.

"By the intersessional meeting of February 2001 we will be in a position to have all nine protocols signed, forming a legal framework for a single market and economy," Arthur said.

He noted that when the Treaty of Chaguaramas was sign in 1972 something like a single market and economy for the region was not even conceived.

"All that has now changed," he declared. (Anthony Milne Trinidad Express)

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