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Antigua And Barbuda First To Ratify OECS Economic Union

by Phillip Morton, Investors Offshore.com

05 January 2011


The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer, on December 30 became the first signatory to ratify the Revised Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Treaty of Basseterre, a first step toward establishing the OECS Economic Union.

Antigua and Barbuda – like other OECS member states – signed the revised treaty on June 18, 2010, at Gros Islet in Saint Lucia.

“By being the first member state to ratify the revised treaty, Antigua and Barbuda wishes to signal its profound commitment to the implementation process,” Spencer said inking the document.

In what the government described as a "rare display of bipartisan consensus," the islands' House of Representatives passed a bill on December 2, 2010, allowing for an instrument of ratification to be filed with the OECS Secretariat on behalf of the territory.

Antigua & Barbuda is the only OECS member state that has a Ratification of Treaties Act. The Act (Cap 364), in Section 3, stipulates that where a treaty to which Antigua & Barbuda becomes party affects or concerns the relationship between Antigua & Barbuda and any international organization, agency, association or similar body, such Treaty shall not enter into force unless it has been ratified or its ratification approved in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

Following the islands' ratification of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, the pact must receive three further member states' support.

At the 51st Meeting of the OECS Authority in St Lucia in June 2010, the OECS heads of government had agreed to the date of January 21, 2011, for the implementation of the Revised Treaty.

Considerable technical work has already gone into the implementation process, including the elaboration of the procedural rules between OECS member states, in particular in relation to individual travel, the free movement of OECS nationals, and non-tariff barriers to goods and trade.

If, as expected, the Economic Union enters into force, the revised treaty will create a single economic and financial space covering all OECS member states, and deepen regional integration.

TAGS: tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | Montserrat | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | law | international financial centres (IFC) | Grenada | offshore | Antigua and Barbuda | Dominica | Saint Kitts and Nevis | trade

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