Home > Foreign Relations, Regional > States Should Utilise CCJ in Trade Disputes – Jagdeo

States Should Utilise CCJ in Trade Disputes – Jagdeo

JAMAICA/GUYANA -President of Guyana, His Excellency Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, has reminded that CARICOM states have recourse through the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), to fight trade barriers that negatively affect regional producers.

“You have this situation where in a single economic space, some producers may be getting their inputs cheaper or more subsidies more than others, so their goods become more competitive on the market.its very difficult to prove those sorts of things because you’re dealing with the rules of origin, and sometimes you don’t get all of the information,” he said.

Dr. Jagdeo said that with the CCJ in its original jurisdiction, to which CARICOM countries have all subscribed, “if someone feels aggrieved and they have a strong case they should go to the court, and if there is a court ruling then the country will be forced to comply”.

He was fielding questions at a press conference on day three of the 31st Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James.

Dr. Jagdeo said while recourse could be pursued, it should be noted that even large trading blocs such as the European Union, had these types of disputes, because there are still major issues with the application of the rules governing trade, amongst these developed countries.

“It (the problem ) is not going to disappear tomorrow, even if we are fully integrated, and we establish a Single Economy,” he said.

Jamaica’s Agriculture Minister, the Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton has raised fresh concerns about the treatment of Jamaican products in the region. He told the House of Representatives that local primary producers were being “short changed” within CARICOM, due to a subsidised agro processing sector, specifically in oil rich Trinidad and Tobago.

He accused the subsidised agro processing sector there of “using raw materials imported extra regionally with unclear duty arrangements,” adding that it is something that has to be examined.

“It is of concern to me that my peanut farmers are unable to compete for the demand of agro processors, due to peanuts from our CARICOM partner, imported extra regionally and processed with subsidised energy and then sent into our market to basically drive our farmers out of business,” Dr. Tufton said.

He stressed that while Jamaica supports CARICOM, “that CARICOM arrangement cannot be at the expense of our local productive capacity, and it’s something we need to examine and have discussions on”.

Dr. Tufton also noted that under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, there are several avenues facilitating support to primary producers. “We should also recognise our own context and ensure that we take the necessary actions to be placed at an advantage in terms of our own food security strategy, and where we can offer support in terms of building that local capacity,” he stated.

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