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Dr Gonsalves clears air on ALBA Single Market

Dr Gonsalves clears air on ALBA Single Market

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Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has cleared the air, saying that he welcomes the move by ALBA to deepen the integration movement, by wanting to form a single market space.{{more}}

According to the prime minister, his recommendations for some amendments were misconstrued.

He said he was simply cautioning that because member states are also members of other organizations, a series of matters would have to be dissolved and things put properly in a juridical footing.

“I welcomed this deepening of the integration movement,” the prime minister said during a press briefing February 7.

Member states of ALBA have come to a decision to form a single economic space.

The decision was taken during the 11th Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas summit, held on the weekend of February 4 and 5.

“I see the integration movement evolving,” Gonsalves said.

While he said that he welcomed the decision, the prime minister said that he recommended some critical amendments.

According to Gonsalves, given the fact that member states such as St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica were already members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union and members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and CARICOM which already has a single market, there were going to be cross-cutting issues.

He said that he suggested that ALBA-TCP meet with the OECS and CARICOM secretariats.

There were very special attractive proposals for special and differential treatment for smaller countries, such as SVG, to provide the requisite protection, so that it does not affect the CARICOM trade in terms of existing tariff arrangements.

“Because our goods are going to go to those countries in ALBA-TCP duty free, whereas tariffs of a level imposed by CARICOM would be imposed on those other countries in ALBA-TCP who are exporting to us,” the prime minister explained.

“But nevertheless, the discussion has to be put on a juridical footing,” Gonsalves said. (DD)

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