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CARICOM Single Market To Start In January

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

14 December 2005

Twelve member countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have now ratified the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, meaning that the Treaty Establishing the Caribbean Community can be adopted in January, 2006, and the Caribbean Single Market will come into existence.

At the 11th Special Meeting of Caricom in Barbados last week, CARICOM Heads of Government agreed to allow for the adoption of the revised treaty upon the ratification by 12 of the 14 member countries. A special ceremony will be held early in January to formally bring the treaty into force and establish the Caribbean Single Market.

Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago are said to be 'Single Market ready', other countries which have indicated they will be ready by the end of the month are Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Haiti, Guyana, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Suriname will not be ready on time.

CARICOM's Council of Finance and Planning (COFAP) which comprises Finance Ministers across the region, is meetintg in Jamaica this week to examine proposals for the funding of the regional integration process as well as conclude outstanding matters relating to the Single Market. The meeting will also discuss the operationalisation of the Regional Development Fund and the implementation of elements of chapter seven of the Revised Treaty.

There are five associate members of CARICOM: the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, and Bermuda.

There are seven observers: Aruba, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

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