Fri | Dec 14, 2018

Caribbean integration too slow, too weak - High-ranking EU diplomat cautions region against segmented trade market

Published:Saturday | February 3, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
A resident of Denham Town speaks to Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second left), Stefano Manservisi (second right) director-general for international cooperation and development, European Union and Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska Head of EU Delegation in Jamaica (right), when they toured her community yesterday.

The region's attempt at integrating into a single market is taking too long and the progress is moving too slowly, Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development Stefano Manservisi has charged.

Manservisi, who was discussing trade at a function at the Regional Headquarters of the University of the West Indies on Thursday, warned that the fragmentation in the Caribbean could prove to be a challenge to further expansion in trade between the two blocs.

"Your process of integration has been too slow, too weak," Manservisi declared adding, "I know what I am talking about because if there is a region in the world that is able to set up a single market - the biggest in the world - with compromises, with rules, with the participation of everybody, it's the European Union."

He expressed a willingness for the EU to continue to be a strong trading partner with this region.

But the director-general was adamant that the integration of the Caribbean was an essential component in deepening the relationship between the EU and the Caribbean.

Pointing out the relatively small size of countries that make up the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Manservisi further argued that a "single market has been the most powerful way to be protected from the most negative effects of globalisation".

There is currently an outstanding report on Jamaica's future in CARICOM, which was produced by a working group chaired by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said that the report is being examined by Cabinet.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com