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High transportation cost hindering intra-regional trade, says CARICOM official

Published:Friday | October 11, 2013 | 3:06 PM

Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

A CARICOM official says the unreasonably high cost of air and sea transportation in the Caribbean continues to undermine the feasibility of intra-regional trade fuelling the region’s growing food import bill.

CARICOM’s Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Department, Dr Douglas Slater, warns that unless this issue is addressed all efforts to achieve regional food security will continue to fall short.

Slater argues that it makes no sense that agricultural produce originating in Europe, which have to cross the Atlantic Ocean, continue to retail at much lower costs than similar products from the region.

And he says freight cost is the major contributing factor.

He notes, for example, that freight costs between Antigua and Barbuda and Guadeloupe are twice as high as freight costs from France to Guadeloupe.

Slater was speaking at the official opening ceremony of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, held at the Guyana International Conference Centre yesterday.


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