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Belize Hosts CARICOM Single Market Workshops

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
06 January, 2015

The Belizean Government has recently held a series of educational sessions setting out the benefits and responsibilities attached to the territory's participation in the proposed Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The talks were aimed at Government agencies and private sector groups. They focused on the rights under the Single Market concerning the free movement of skills, services, goods, and capital, and right of establishment, in Belize and in the 12 other participating states.

The presentations highlighted the rights of Belizeans, which will be equal to those of the other parties to the CSME, and the roles of the various groups in facilitating market access and addressing grievances if those rights are violated, including through the complaints procedure set out under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

The Belize Excise Department also provided guidance to Belizean exporters on the relevant form that needs to be completed to evidence that goods are of CARICOM origin to qualify for customs duty-free access.

The workshops were coordinated by the Ministry of Trade, Investment, Promotion, Private Sector Development, and Consumer Protection in partnership with the CARICOM Secretariat. They were funded by the Government of Canada.

CSME, which is yet to be fully implemented, will include the removal of intra-bloc tariff barriers and will lead to the imposition of a Common External Tariff - a rate of duty to be applied by all members of the CSME to products imported from non-member countries. Originally participating members had targeted a 2015 date for completion of the project, but this date was pushed back due to the financial crisis.

It was confirmed on December 17 that the Dominican Ministry of Employment, Trade, Industry, and Diaspora Affairs, in partnership with the CARICOM Secretariat, is developing a CSME Communication Plan to push towards completing the implementation process.

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