Categorized | Local, News, Regional

PM Arthur speaks on regional integration challenges

By Peter Richards

owen_arthurTrinidad, CMC – Former Barbados prime minister Owen Arthur (left) says while the decision in 1989 to transform Caribbean economies into a into a single market and economy was one of the most momentous decisions in the history of the Caribbean “it was a transformation that was never going to be easily achieved”.

Delivering the guest lecture at the Institute of International Relations at the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) on Monday, Arthur said the transformation was therefore going to be more taxing if not attended by clarity of purpose, and the determination to hold to a steady course come what may.

Speaking on the topic “Caribbean Regionalism in the Context of Economic Challenges,” Arthur, who at one time held responsibility for  the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME) portfolio within the quasi CARICOM cabinet, said the creation of the CSME was intended both to be an agency by which the region created indigenous opportunities for its development, and at the same time serve as the principal vehicle by which the regional economy would be integrated into the evolving and dynamic global economy.

“In agreeing to reconstitute itself as a Single Market and Economy, the region, for the first time, sought to rest its own development and its relationship with the rest of the world on the embrace of the economic ideology of liberalization.

“In this regard, the creation of a Single Market was to take the form of removal of all of the constraints on the movement within the region of goods, services, labour, capital and the creation of enterprises over centuries,” said Arthur, a three-time prime minister who lost office in 2008.

He told his audience that this process was however intended to be undertaken in accordance with particular principles and design features.

“To be precise, in reconstituting itself as a single market, the instruments of integration were to be designed to facilitate deeper, broader and faster liberalisation between individual economies in the Caribbean than the region would agree to in its bilateral or multilateral agreements and relationships,” Arthur said.

He also noted it also meant that the region had to be prepared to venture into areas for which there was no provision in its previous attempts at integration, such as labour mobility.

But he said in order to be relevant, the region had to embrace and incorporate into its own programme of integration protocols pertaining to economic disciplines for which there are no multilateral agreements such as Investment.

Arthur said it was also clearly understood that the CSME, which allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour across the 15-member grouping, would or could never appear at any one time as a finite nor finished entity.

“It would have to be made to evolve to give effect to its intended purpose as an indigenous model for economic liberalization, and to ensure that the region’s treatment of its own constituent units are always more favourable than its commitments to liberalise under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO) or through its bilateral trade and economic agreements.

“More pertinently, it was intended that the creation of a Single Market was not an end in itself. It  was intended largely to create the foundations on which a virtual Single Economy would be erected.”

Arthur said the Single Economy was intended to have as some of its key elements the provision for production integration, the harmonization of economic policies in critical areas, and the bringing about the convergence of the macro-economic policies of the individual economies such as would facilitate the adoption of more advanced forms of integration such as monetary union.

Arthur said the architects of the Single Market had recognized that while CARICOM was initially designed to give effect to economic integration, functional cooperation and the coordination of foreign policy as separate and distinct pillars, “the move to create a CSME required that a new and advanced harmony should be established between the various forms of regional integration”.

 

Comments are closed.

TMR print pages

Newsletter

Archives

https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d

A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Peter Richards

owen_arthurTrinidad, CMC – Former Barbados prime minister Owen Arthur (left) says while the decision in 1989 to transform Caribbean economies into a into a single market and economy was one of the most momentous decisions in the history of the Caribbean “it was a transformation that was never going to be easily achieved”.

Delivering the guest lecture at the Institute of International Relations at the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) on Monday, Arthur said the transformation was therefore going to be more taxing if not attended by clarity of purpose, and the determination to hold to a steady course come what may.

Insert Ads Here

Speaking on the topic “Caribbean Regionalism in the Context of Economic Challenges,” Arthur, who at one time held responsibility for  the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME) portfolio within the quasi CARICOM cabinet, said the creation of the CSME was intended both to be an agency by which the region created indigenous opportunities for its development, and at the same time serve as the principal vehicle by which the regional economy would be integrated into the evolving and dynamic global economy.

“In agreeing to reconstitute itself as a Single Market and Economy, the region, for the first time, sought to rest its own development and its relationship with the rest of the world on the embrace of the economic ideology of liberalization.

“In this regard, the creation of a Single Market was to take the form of removal of all of the constraints on the movement within the region of goods, services, labour, capital and the creation of enterprises over centuries,” said Arthur, a three-time prime minister who lost office in 2008.

He told his audience that this process was however intended to be undertaken in accordance with particular principles and design features.

“To be precise, in reconstituting itself as a single market, the instruments of integration were to be designed to facilitate deeper, broader and faster liberalisation between individual economies in the Caribbean than the region would agree to in its bilateral or multilateral agreements and relationships,” Arthur said.

He also noted it also meant that the region had to be prepared to venture into areas for which there was no provision in its previous attempts at integration, such as labour mobility.

But he said in order to be relevant, the region had to embrace and incorporate into its own programme of integration protocols pertaining to economic disciplines for which there are no multilateral agreements such as Investment.

Arthur said it was also clearly understood that the CSME, which allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour across the 15-member grouping, would or could never appear at any one time as a finite nor finished entity.

“It would have to be made to evolve to give effect to its intended purpose as an indigenous model for economic liberalization, and to ensure that the region’s treatment of its own constituent units are always more favourable than its commitments to liberalise under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO) or through its bilateral trade and economic agreements.

“More pertinently, it was intended that the creation of a Single Market was not an end in itself. It  was intended largely to create the foundations on which a virtual Single Economy would be erected.”

Arthur said the Single Economy was intended to have as some of its key elements the provision for production integration, the harmonization of economic policies in critical areas, and the bringing about the convergence of the macro-economic policies of the individual economies such as would facilitate the adoption of more advanced forms of integration such as monetary union.

Arthur said the architects of the Single Market had recognized that while CARICOM was initially designed to give effect to economic integration, functional cooperation and the coordination of foreign policy as separate and distinct pillars, “the move to create a CSME required that a new and advanced harmony should be established between the various forms of regional integration”.