Barbados’ negotiators are considering how best to include Government procurement in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.
However, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Senator Jepter Ince, told participants at a National Consultation on Government Procurement in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this morning, that Barbados needed the input and experience of providers and purchasers of goods and services to Government.
Ince reasoned that prior to concluding the Revised Treaty in 2001, the Community recognised the need to include Government procurement, but was unable to do so at the time.
“The process had now started,” he added.
The parliamentary secretary noted that this sector remained exempt from regional trade rules. He explained that there was need for national consultation on the issue and that those involved should understand the implications of National Treatment and Most-Favoured Nation Treaty commitments.
Ince noted this against the background that the way Government acquired good and services was a major item discussed in all bilateral trade agreements.
The official said Barbados and CARICOM had already made limited commitments in government procurement under the Economic Partnership Agreement. He said that at present, the region was negotiating with Canada on matters of trade.
Head of the CSME Unit, Ivor Carryl, explained that when the revised treaty was concluded, Government procurement was not one of the areas discussed.
“But we now have been able to make progress both by the homework of member states and from that homework, writing a policy document,” Carryl continued.
“We were quite conscious that we would be reducing the potential of the CSME by not opening up a market worth several billion dollars in goods, services and construction works of all kinds,” the integrationist observed. (EJ)††