REGIONAL trade ministers begin a virtual meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) today, with one of the issues for deliberation being the adoption of a policy on mergers and acquisitions. The policy would seek to prevent market domination by businesses in the Caribbean’s single market and economy to ensure that consumers are not adversely affected by monopolistic pricing.
COTED is the body within Caricom responsible for promoting trade in goods and services and sustainable regional economic development. The Council is one of the main platforms for strengthening the international competitiveness and economic resilience of the region and oversees the progress of integration through the full implementation of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) .
In a press release yesterday, the T&T Department of Trade and Industry said that the agenda for discussions at the 54th COTED Ministerial Session includes the digitization of the Caricom Application Processing System (CAPS) . The CAPS upgrade would simplify application procedures for qualified nationals seeking to travel to other CSME member states to seek employment.
Proposals will also be considered by the Caricom Private Sector Organization (CPSO) to expedite the process of amending the Common External Tariff (duties levied on imports) to provide protection to regional industries with the aim of improving competitiveness. regional products and to improve the ability of companies to conquer a greater market share.
Regarding global issues, trade ministers will discuss the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the evolution of transport costs due to the pandemic, as well as the impact of the Russian- Ukrainian on the regional economy. The ministers are expected to recommend regional initiatives that can be pursued nationally to mitigate the negative impact of these issues, the trade ministry said.
“Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in this meeting is essential to ensure that national interests are reflected in regional policies and initiatives,” the Ministry of Commerce said, adding, “Participation at the ministerial level also demonstrates the commitment government towards the development of Caricom and the integration movement.
Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon will lead the Trinidad and Tobago delegation to participate in regional trade policy discussions at COTED.
The Tr&T delegation includes senior officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and various other private sector ministries, departments and agencies, namely the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Caricom, the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Planning and Development and the Customs and Excise Division.
Also part of the delegation are the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards, exportTT, the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association and the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The meeting ends tomorrow.