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Aug 6, 2015

C.E.O. Mike Singh Says Wrinkles Will Be Ironed in Days Ahead

Mike Singh

C.E.O. in the Ministry of Trade, Mike Singh, expressed optimism that in the next few days all the wrinkles will be ironed out in the cross-border trade.



Mike Singh, C.E.O., Ministry of Trade

“We do offer the Central American countries, including Guatemala, a strong opportunity to enter into the CARICOM market, which is a market that we have had access to for many years under our CSME membership within CARICOM. So this is a two way beneficiary arrangement that needs to be expanded and needs to be given the type of lifeblood to make it work and that is what we are here to do today. There are many issues that are plaguing this agreement from being at its best. Those issues will be dealt with under subcommittees, two of which have already been formed, and the third of which we hope to finalize the terms of reference at this meeting, which is the market access committee. We do know that our importers and exporters, some of which are represented here today, have had to find workarounds to make the trade work. And that is not the way trade should work; trade should really be a natural thing and it should be facilitated by the governments and not hindered by the governments and I am hoping that the joint effort we will be putting in today will help us to prevent that hindrance and to find where bottlenecks are. Some of the issues that we saw, that we identified, specifically as a barrier to trade from Belize goods moving into Guatemala and I expect that throughout the next two days, we will be looking very closely at those issues and to see how the committees that were formed will be able to push forward and releasing some of those barriers. I feel for us, the opportunities in Central America that I mentioned earlier are something that we really need to jump on. As we embark on these journeys, that we will offer to our partners, including Guatemala, not only an access to our market, but also access to the other markets that we are opening up, which we feel can have access. And some of that has already been proven. We are now seeing investment from Guatemalan company, Santander Sugar that is now expanding its sugar production into Belize. And their primary goal is so that they can access markets in Europe under Belize quotas that are not fully utilized. So a lot of these, I think, could be effects or secondary effects that can come out of the agreement that we need to explore very closely, particularly on the investment side.”

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