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Caricom Single Market and Economy - Jamaica

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Caricom Single Market and Economy - Jamaica

Jamaica is fully prepared for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) having instituted all the legal and administrative requirements to facilitate the implementation of the Single Market aspect of the process.

With the onset of globalisation in the 1980s the region found itself having to compete with larger and more developed markets and recognized that a unified Caribbean community would have to be the way forward if the region were to survive.

The CSME was established by the Conference of Heads of Government in Grenada in 1989, with amendments to the Treaty of Chaguaramas and the negotiation of nine Protocols. The provisions of the nine Protocols, which have now been incorporated into the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, cover: institutions and structures; establishment, services and capital; industrial policy; trade policy; agricultural policy; transport policy; disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors; competition policy and consumer protection; and dumping and subsidies and disputes settlement.

Jamaica has enacted the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas into domestic law and has established a CSME Unit within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade along with an Inter-Ministerial Consultative Committee to coordinate the implementation process.

This committee comprises ministerial and other representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, National Security, Agriculture, Commerce, Science and Technology, Finance and Planning, Labour and Social Security and the Attorney General's Department.

"Under the Free Movement of Persons category, Jamaica has already enacted the Caribbean Community (Free Movement of Skilled Persons) Act, 1997 entitling five groups of CARICOM Nationals and their dependents to offer services in Jamaica without the need for work permits", Head of the CSME Unit, Robert Miller tells JIS News.

Mr. Miller says that the CSME, under the Revised Treaty, enables university graduates, media workers, sports persons, artistes and musicians and also self-employed persons engaged in activities of a commercial, industrial or agricultural nature, to establish a business in any other member state without restrictions. It entitles these five categories and their dependents to offer services in Jamaica without work permits.

Regionally, agreement has been reached on the implementation of two lines at the ports of entry, one for CARICOM nationals and the other for non-CARICOM nationals, which Jamaica has already complied with.

"The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas provides for the establishment of a regime for trade in services similar to the trade in goods and the government has taken action towards meeting its commitment for the Right of Establishment and Provision of Services by CARICOM nationals", Mr. Miller says.

The CSME will also aid entrepreneurs to transfer money to another country without having to obtain prior authorization, the right to buy shares in any company in any member state and access to a wider pool of skilled persons from which to recruit.

"The establishment of the CSME is intended to assist member CARICOM states to achieve national objectives such as sustained economic development and expansion of trade, full employment of all the factors of production, improved standards of living and work and effective economic relations with other countries", he points out.

He adds that the implementation of all the major elements of the CSME will result in a single, seamless economic space within which all transactions will take place. As such, another aspect of the CSME that is in progress is the establishment of a Regional Accreditation Body, to oversee accreditation and equivalency of degrees, diplomas, certificates and other qualifications.

Turning to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and its importance to the functioning of the CSME, Mr. Miller expresses the hopes that the CCJ will now function in its original jurisdiction as a trade court, following the recent ruling of the Privy Council. The court will be charged with the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty and exercise exclusive jurisdiction with respect to dispute settlement, mediation, conciliation and

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