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Bartlett disappointed at failed CARICOM-Canada trade talks

Published:Saturday | May 16, 2015 | 5:00 AM

Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Edmund Bartlett is expressing disappointment at the failed Free Trade Agreement negotiations between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Canada, which, he says, could have paved the way for significantly enhanced trade and investment flows, especially as it relates to trade in services.

Bartlett said: "It is extremely disappointing that the negotiations between CARICOM and Canada have not culminated in a successful agreement, as this could have opened up tremendous opportunities for Jamaica. In an age where the fortunes of a country are heavily dependent on agreements it is able to secure and advantages it is able to leverage, CARICOM has missed out on a huge opportunity."

The opposition spoke-sman said: "The existing Carib-Can Agreement is not sufficient to secure Jamaica's full access to the Canadian market as that agreement is centred around trade in goods, but does not treat with trade in services. It is important to note that Canada is likely to secure a waiver from the WTO (World Trade Organization) to continue the non-reciprocal arrangements now embodied in the Carib-Can Agreement, but this does not advance our cause much as the emp-hasis at this time must be on services."

He continued: "The changing geo-economic landscape and Jamaica's strategic interests in terms of the growth agenda suggest that we establish a mechanism for unlocking our potential in logistics, tourism services, business-process outsourcing, the creative industries and the knowledge economy. This is what a free trade agreement with Canada would help to secure, and since the CARICOM-related negotiations have failed, Jamaica must now consider and explore the possibilities of securing an agreement with Canada on its own."