CARICOM Trade Ministers welcome cooperation with the WCO

19 November 2018

At the invitation of the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya spoke at the Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) held in Georgetown, Guyana, on 15 November 2018. The COTED is the body bringing together CARICOM Trade Ministers and to which the CARICOM Customs Committee reports on matters relating to the WCO’s role and the future cooperation between both Organizations. 

Recalling the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two Organizations on 20 March 2018, Dr. Mikuriya pointed out that as the WCO was currently looking into the special needs of and challenges facing Small Island Economies, it would be timely to explore ways of enhancing cooperation with CARICOM, especially as nine of the latter’s fifteen Members were also Members of the WCO.  He presented various relevant WCO instruments and programmes which could serve as a basis for further regional integration in the Caribbean region.

In response to the WCO presentation, Ms. Sandra Husbands, Barbados Minister of Foreign Trade and Chair of COTED, summarized some of the matters of immediate interest to Customs of the region, such as the Single Window, knowledge management in Customs, e-learning, integrity and the pool of WCO experts.  She confirmed that there would be opportunities for further cooperation between the two Organizations, before expressing her gratitude to Secretary General Mikuriya for WCO’s support.

Dr. Mikuriya had several bilateral meetings on the fringe of the COTED meeting, including with Ms. Paula Gopee-Scoon, Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Trade and Industry, to follow up on Secretary General’s recent visit to her country.