Jamaica and Trinidad agree on trade complaints mechanism
Triniad and Tobago and Jamaica have agreed to a new trade complaints mechanism that promises resolutions in 48 hours. (Photo: Golden_Brown)

THE Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers' Association (TTMA) has signed with Jamaica a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on trade complaints between the island nations.

Trade between the two Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries exceeds $1 billion (TT$1 dollar=US$0.16) annually. Each country also has notable investments in the other, a Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) report on the new accord stated.

The Ministry of Trade in Trinidad said this week that the trade complaints mechanism's primary objective is to provide predictable and transparent procedures and channels of communication for resolving complaints, allowing exporters a fixed point of contact for their complaints, which will be resolved within 48 days from receipt.

The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers' Association (TTMA) described the accord as a "landmark that will deepen and strengthen the existing trade relations between these two states".

Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne and his Jamaican counterpart Kamina Johnson Smith signed the MOU Monday, establishing a trade complaints mechanism that is expected to create an avenue "for the expeditious resolution of trade complaints".

The TTMA, in a statement, said, in recent times, both countries faced many trade-related challenges, especially those originating in the extra-regional arena, which has curtailed the free flow of trade.

"In this regard, solidifying Caricom domestic relations, as this MOU seeks to do, is therefore seen as timely. TTMA looks forward to this MOU in establishing the trade complaints mechanism that seeks to provide transparent communications in addressing concerns," the statement read.

"The MOU resonates with TTMA's lobbying efforts over years, whereby, for example, the association had established a Trade Desk that sought to resolve issues between the two Caricom countries and hosted trade missions to Jamaica. Reciprocally, Jamaica has partnered in the TTMA-hosted Trade and Investment Convention, attending the trade show, showcasing their goods and services to willing buyers and participants from Trinidad and Tobago and the wider world."

The statement also noted that Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica are identified as each other's major trading partner within Caricom and "efforts must be engaged to ensure the trading opportunities for both countries are not only sustained but nourished and continue to grow".

"Set for the period November 20 to 25, the objectives of the mission include, inter alia, building upon the commitments of both governments to improve bilateral relations, seeking raw material suppliers from Jamaica, enhancing trading relations and opportunities for the private sector from both countries, and other trade-related objectives," the TTMA said.

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