Need to seek out big­ger mar­kets for Jamaican prod­ucts – Gold­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS - ro­mario.scott@glean­erjm.com

CHAIR­MAN OF the Govern­ment’s Caribbean Com­mu­nity (CARICOM) Re­view Com­mis­sion, Bruce Gold­ing, us­ing the anal­ogy of a pond of fish, says Ja­maica, by it­self, is too small to sus­tain a pros­per­ous econ­omy, sug­gest­ing that the coun­try should find an ef­fi­cient and mod­ern way to trade with the re­gion and the rest of the world.

Gold­ing, a for­mer prime min­is­ter, be­lieves there is a lot for Ja­maica to con­sider as it seeks to find eco­nomic pros­per­ity, in­clud­ing look­ing to the north to forge strong part­ner­ships with Cuba and the Do­mini­can Repub­lic.

“We have a sit­u­a­tion where we do have the pond of CARICOM, di­vided up into sec­tions ... the nu­tri­ents in the wa­ter are not com­modi­ties. They ac­cu­mu­late in some sec­tions, but they are de­fi­cient in oth­ers,” Gold­ing said while ad­dress­ing a pol­icy dis­cus­sion forum hosted by the Depart­ment of Eco­nom­ics at the Univer­sity of the West Indies, Mona, last Wed­nes­day.

He said coun­tries in CARICOM need to pro­duce enough to sus­tain them­selves and to find ar­range­ments to ef­fi­ciently trade with the world so it can earn for­eign ex­change to pay for the things it does not pro­duce, ap­pear­ing to sug­gest that the cur­rent ar­range­ment was in­ef­fec­tive.

“In the early 1970s, CARICOM trade was equiv­a­lent to 3 per cent of to­tal world trade, but by 2012, it has shrunk to a quar­ter of one per cent,” he said.

Gold­ing, in the mean­time, said that there are sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges ahead for coun­tries in CARICOM as the ar­range­ment can re­sult in big win­ners and big losers on the sen­si­tive sub­ject mat­ter of trade among mem­ber states.

“The chal­lenge is to find a way to do it right and to do it in a way that some may win more than oth­ers, but no­body would lose. Those who do not win big must not do so largely be­cause of their own fail­ure and not be­cause of the way in which the con­fig­u­ra­tions are made,” Gold­ing said.

OTH­ERS IN AGREE­MENT

It is a point that Gold­ing and Owen Arthur, a for­mer prime min­is­ter of Bar­ba­dos, who was also in at­ten­dance, seem to agree on.

Arthur said that some states within CARICOM are un­will­ing to ex­pose their do­mes­tic mar­ket and econ­omy to the Caribbean out of fear that other coun­tries could score big, leav­ing the do­mes­tic play­ers with very lit­tle.

The for­mer Bar­ba­dian prime min­is­ter ar­gued that, over­all, the is­sues re­lat­ing to eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion of CARICOM stemmed from two main sources – the fail­ure to com­plete and per­fect the ar­range­ments for a sin­gle mar­ket, and the “need to re­move the am­biva­lence and to set­tle upon ef­fec­tive ar­range­ments by which to cre­ate a vir­tual sin­gle re­gional econ­omy”.

A CARICOM com­mis­sion on the econ­omy has been cre­ated to give ef­fect to a dif­fer­ent strate­gic di­rec­tion and work pro­gramme in re­spect of the cre­ation of a vir­tual sin­gle re­gional econ­omy.

With re­spect to the work of the com­mis­sion, Arthur said: “It is an am­bi­tious pro­posal whose im­ple­men­ta­tion will test the stretched in­sti­tu­tional re­sources of CARICOM.”

GOLD­ING

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