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Trade Agreements

Trade and other International Relationships
St. Vincent and the Grenadines presently participates in several regional and international Trade Agreements. Some of the Trade Agreements which benefit St.Vincent and the Grenadines are summarized below.

Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI)
The CBI is a broad program to promote economic development through private sector initiative in Central America and the Caribbean islands. Its major goal is to expand foreign and domestic investment in non-traditional sectors, diversifying CBI country economies and expanding their exports.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a beneficiary of the Caribbean Basin Initiative. Products manufactured or assembled in SVG can land in the US market duty-free.

Products must satisfy the following requirements for duty free entry:

Be imported directly from a beneficiary country.
The product must be at least 35% in local value added. This origin requirement can be reduced to 20% if at least 15% of the product value is represented by United States or Puerto Rican content.
Substantial transformation of the product is required.

Eligible products include:

Electronic and electro-mechanical assembly
Handicraft, giftware and decorative accessories
Wood products, including furniture and building materials
Recreational items such as sporting goods and toys
Fresh and frozen seafood
Tropical fruit products and winter vegetables
Ethnic and specialty foods such as sauces, spices, liqueurs, etc.
Ornamental horticulture
Medical and surgical supplies

However, excluded from this agreement include:

Most textiles and apparel
Tuna – prepared or preserved
Petroleum and petroleum products
Watches and watch parts, except any component originated in a communist country
Footwear, except disposable items
Certain leather, rubber and plastic gloves
Other leather items including footwear, handbags, luggage, and wearing apparel

Caribbean / Canada Trade Agreement (CARIBCAN)
CARIBCAN is an economic and trade development assistance programme for the Commonwealth Caribbean countries and territories. The main feature of CARIBCAN is the unilateral extension by Canada of duty free access to the Canadian market for most commodities originating in Commonwealth Caribbean exports.

To qualify for the duty free treatment accorded to Commonwealth Caribbean countries the following Rules of Origin must be followed:
 

At least 60 % of the ex-factory price of the goods (including overhead and reasonable profits) as packed for shipment to Canada must originate in one or more beneficiary countries or Canada.
The goods must be finished in the beneficiary country in the form in which they are imported into Canada.

A duly completed Certificate of Origin, Form A, or a written statement of origin signed by the exporter, must also be presented to Customs at the time of release, accounting or refund.
The following products are not eligible for duty-free treatment under CARIBCAN:

Textiles and clothing
Footwear
Luggage and handbags
Leather garments
Lubricating oils
Methanol

Cotonou Agreement

The European Community and its Member States signed a new Partnership Agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States in Cotonou, Benin, on 23 June, 2000. This Agreement replaces the Lomé Convention, which has provided the structure for trade and cooperation between the EU and the ACP since 1975.

As a member of the Cotonou Agreement, companies manufacturing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines qualify to enter their goods into countries of the European Union duty-free and without quota restrictions.
Only goods wholly produced in an ACP State qualifies for this preferential status.


Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)
CARICOM was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas and came into effect on August 1, 1973 to which St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been a member for over thirty (30) years.
The CARICOM agreement seeks to attain economic integration among its fifteen (15) Caribbean Member States and allows investors operating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines preferential access to the entire
CARICOM market of some 17.5 million people.Much preferential access to other Member States extends to goods originating within the Community or products with at least a minimum of 50% value added,
subject to certain value added criteria as specified under the CARICOM Rules of Origin.
CARICOM's trade relations with the western hemisphere have undergone significant changes over the last decade. During this period CARICOM's trade with its hemispheric partners noticeably increased as a
percentage of its trade with the world as a whole. In 1996, Heads of Government of CARICOM agreed to give priority to negotiating free trade agreements with selected countries in Latin America and the wider/greater Caribbean.
Thus, as a CARICOM Member State, St. Vincent and the Grenadines offers bilateral trade accords with the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba and Venezuela.

CARICOM/ Republic of Venezuela Agreement
CARICOM has a bilateral trade agreement with Venezuela which was signed in October 1992 and became effective on 1 January 1993.
The fundamental objective of this agreement is to strengthen the economic and trade relations and technical cooperation between CARICOM and Venezuela through:
 

The promotion and expansion of the sale of goods originating in CARICOM through inter alia, one-way duty-free access to the Venezuela market;
The stimulation of investments aimed at taking advantage of the markets of the Parties and strengthening their competitiveness in the world trade;
The facilitation of the creation and operation of regional joint ventures;
The encouragement of mechanisms for the promotion and protection of investments by nationals of the Parties

CARICOM/ Republic of Colombia Agreement
The fundamental objective of this agreement is to strengthen the economic and trade relations and technical cooperation between CARICOM and Colombia through:

The promotion and expansion of the sale of goods originating in CARICOM and Colombia with particular emphasis on exports from CARICOM States in the early stages of the implementation of this Agreement;
The promotion and protection of investments aimed at taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the markets of the Parties and strengthening their competitiveness in the international market;
The facilitation of the creation and operation of regional joint ventures;
The development of technical and scientific cooperation activities which may be agreed upon between the Parties;
The promotion of private sector activities, including business exchanges between CARICOM and Colombia.

The Agreement will promote a programme of trade liberalization taking into account the difference in the levels of development between Colombia and CARICOM generally, and in particular, those countries designated the Less Developed Countries (LDCs) of CARICOM including St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Products originating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are granted free access according to detailed schedules laid out in the CARICOM/ Colombia Agreement.

CARICOM/ Dominican Republic
CARICOM and the Dominican Republic signed a Framework Agreement establishing the Free Trade Area between the Caribbean Community and the Dominican Republic on 22 August, 1998.
The fundamental objective of this Agreement is to strengthen the commercial and economic relations between CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic through:

The establishment of a Free Trade Area between the parties consistent with WTO rules
The promotion and expansion of the sale of goods originating in the parties through free access to the markets of the parties
Elimination of non-tariff barriers to trade
The progressive liberalization of trade in services
And the liberalization of the movement of capital.

CARICOM/ Republic of Cuba Agreement
Acting on the recommendation of the Seventh Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on External Economic Relations and subsequently the Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads held on October 26 - 27, 1999 agreed to include Cuba on the priority list for negotiation of trade agreements with CARICOM. The Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation between CARICOM and the Government of the Republic of Cuba was signed on July 05, 2000.
The objective of this Agreement is the strengthening of the commercial and economic relations between CARICOM Member States and Cuba through:

The promotion and expansion of trade in goods and services originating in the territories of the two countries, by means of, inter alia, free access to the markets of the Parties, elimination of tariff barriers to trade, the establishment of a system of Rules of Origin, and harmonization of technical, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures;
The progressive liberalization of trade and services
The provision of facilities for the establishment of joint ventures and other forms of economic co-operation activities;
The development of mechanisms that promote and protect the investments made by nationals of the Parties;

CARICOM/ Costa Rica Agreement
The most recently concluded bilateral agreement is the CARICOM/ Costa Rica trade pact that was initiated on March 15, 2003, by the two sides.
Further negotiations are to be scheduled to finalise this Free Trade Agreement and will be entered into force as soon as the Parties have advised each other of the completion of necessary internal procedures.
The CARICOM/ Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement will create a combined market of ten (10) million, with CARICOM exporters from all Member States having access to the four million Costa Rican market, for a wide range of products.
Goods manufactured in St. Vincent and the Grenadines which are subject to preferential treatment will have to satisfy Rules of Origin requirements and Customs Procedures. CARICOM products covered by the Region's Oils and Fats Agreement will, however, continue to be protected and will not be subject to free trade.


International Organisations
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is also a member of:

The United Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations
The Organization of American States (OAS)
The Association of Caribbean States (ACS)
The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
The World Trade Organisation (WTO)
The International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)

 

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