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Belize PM Urges Caribbean Co-Operation Over Trade

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

09 March 2004


The Caribbean nations must adopt a common approach to the important trade issues currently affecting the region, the Prime Minster of Belize, Said Musa, told CARICOM representatives in Belize City last week.

Addressing the Sixteenth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), Musa noted: "Perhaps, there has never been a time more demanding of Caribbean unity in trade negotiations than the present," adding that a "mature" response is needed to the challenges posed within the Caribbean Community.

"For us in Belize, our trade negotiating strategy is grounded in the Principle of Gradualism. We accept the inevitability of change. But change must serve the common good," stated Mr Musa.

"Our small size, the nascency of our development, and our limited resource base all dictate that our insertion into the global economy must be gradual. We believe that that is also the CARICOM view," he observed, adding:

"The longstanding trade arrangements which we have enjoyed should only be dismantled if the new arrangements allow us to continue to develop and increase the quality of life of our people."

Musa also warned that the "fiscal challenges" many Caricom nations will face, resulting from the removal of trade barriers under the CSME (Caribbean Single Market Economy), will test the commitment of many members.

"But there is no turning back. The successful development and implementation of the CSME is a precondition for our success as a single economic space," he said.

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