Castries, St. Lucia and St. George’s,
Grenada, September 9, 2013 – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
in partnership with the Australian Agency for International Development
(AusAID) and the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development,
kicked off workshops in Castries and St. George’s today to improve trade
logistics and facilitate economic integration in the Eastern Caribbean.
The four-day workshops were hosted by the Bureaus of Standards of both
St. Lucia and Grenada, which help ensure that goods entering or leaving
the countries comply with quality assurance and certification standards.
The workshops are part of an initiative
to fully automate the import and export approval processes of 14 agencies
including the Bureaus of Standards, plant quarantine, and environmental
and veterinary health in Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, and St. Lucia.
Currently, importing and exporting goods
in the Eastern Caribbean requires filling out documentation and navigating
lengthy administrative requirements. On average, more than one in four
firms identifies customs and trade regulations as a major constraint to
doing business, according to the World Bank Enterprise Surveys (www.enterprisesurveys.org).
Agencies that regulate goods moving across borders in the Caribbean are
increasingly coordinating their operations in an effort to reduce bottlenecks
and excessive delays that limit trade flows.
The workshops in St. Lucia and Grenada
aim to train government officials from institutions involved in clearing
imports and exports on how to harmonize their systems for classifying goods
and analyze trade data to more efficiently target physical inspections
of goods. For example, by using the same identification codes, institutions
in different countries can share and process import and export information
more easily. Developing risk profiles to identify import and export operations
with lower levels of risk can help expedite approvals for trade.
“IFC is an important partner in our
efforts to modernize and automate our processes so that we offer a better
service to the private sector in St. Lucia,” said Dr. Mkabi Walcott, Director
of the St. Lucia Bureau of Standards.
“The training session is a stepping
stone that will help us communicate better with customs officials, other
government institutions in Grenada and Bureaus of Standards across the
Caribbean,” said Mr. Collins, Director of the Grenada Bureau of Standards.
“IFC is committed to making trade easier
in the Caribbean,” said Pedro Andres Amo, IFC Operations Officer. “With
this initiative we seek to help government agencies connect more efficiently,
thus making import clearance easier and reducing logistics costs that are
still a challenge for many businesses in the region. This will also facilitate
increased sharing of trade information at the regional level to facilitate
the free movement of goods within the single market.”
This workshop is the third in a series
of regional trainings hosted by IFC to support the simplification and harmonization
of trade procedures that help promote regional economic integration.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the
private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries,
we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme
poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed
to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the
private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development
challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org