CARICOM and Cuba expand trade relations

By Marion Ali, Assistant Editor

The CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and Cuba now have expanded trade opportunities in each other’s territories, through the signing this week of a second Protocol to an existing Agreement.

The protocol to the Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreemen allows for Cuba to expand duty-free access to more than 320 items including cement, soap, meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, beer, rum and apparel.

For its part, CARICOM will grant duty-free access to 50 items, including pharmaceutical products, other types of fish, fertilizers and iron and steel products. CARICOM will also offer differentiated treatment on 22 other items, and includes a phased reduction of duty by Most Developed Countries in CARICOM.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, and Cuban Ambassador to CARICOM, Julio Cesar Gonzalez Marchante, signed the Second Protocol during the recent 45th Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in Guyana.

The CARICOM ambassador said that signing the protocol signified a strengthening of relations and provides further opportunities for the two parties’ private sector.

CARICOM and Cuba signed the first Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement on July 5, 2000. It provides for the expansion of trade in goods and services, through free access to each other’s markets; and the elimination of non-tariff barriers to trade. It also calls for the harmonization of technical and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

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