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Caribbean Prepares For WTO Trade Policy Review

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

31 May 2013

Territories of the Organization of East Caribbean States (OECS) that have acceded to membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are to receive technical support ahead of a six-yearly review by the global trade body assessing their trade and tax policies.

In anticipation of the WTO review in a year's time, the OECS Secretariat's Geneva Technical Mission and the Trade Policy Unit will assist the territories, in recognition of the extensive requirements placed on the states, including extensive data collection on trade policies, trade performance, adherence to standards, health and food safety, competition policy, price control, investment, sectoral policies, as well as tariff and non-tariff measures.

The Trade Policy review for OECS Member States is one of the requirements of WTO membership. The reviews are intended to assess the compliance of countries with WTO rules and their integration in the multilateral trading system. In particular, the finalized report will provide comprehensive details of changes to the territories' trading and tax regimes on international trade since the last review in 2007.

Program Officer at the OECS Secretariat, Alicia Stephen, explained: "We assist the member states by helping them to gather all this information as well as mobilizing resources and accessing technical assistance so they can provide the information and participate in the drafting of the final report which is the review of their trade policy."

"The good thing about the review is that it is not the basis for any sort of action to be taken against member states if they do not comply. What the review does for our member states is that it gives them an assessment of where they are in terms of their ability to implement the commitments that are set out when they signed on the WTO and it also gives them a global view of their Trade Performance not just in terms of figures but in terms of the reforms they have undertaken since their last review. The review also looks at emerging issues such as competition policy and trade facilitation which are not yet within the ambit of the WTO but is there to signal to the member states in a certain way what their state of preparedness is to engage in those other issues," Stephen concluded.

TAGS: compliance | tax | investment | business | export duty | fiscal policy | international financial centres (IFC) | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | food | offshore | import duty | standards | trade

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