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IFC, World Bank, Australia, and Canada Support Caribbean Trade Logistics Reform and Integration


In Lima:
Clara Ugarte Perrin, IFC

Phone: (511) 611-2501

E-mail:
cugarteperrin@ifc.org

In San Juan:

Rosana Roig, Chamber of Commmerce

Email:
rosanamroig@gmail.com


San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 31, 2012—The World Bank and  IFC, in partnership with the Australian Agency for International Development and the Canadian International Development Agency, hosted an international event to exchange ideas and find solutions to strengthen trade logistics, port operations, and regional integration in the Caribbean.

The international event, Improving Regional Integration in the Caribbean through Trade Logistics Reform, brought together participants from over 30 countries. It included senior representatives from port authorities, border clearance agencies, and the private sector, all seeking to identify ways to promote competitiveness and greater regional integration in the Caribbean.

According to Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State, Kenneth McClintock, the Caribbean islands face unique challenges: they are net importers, shipping costs are high, economies of scale are limited, and the cost of doing business hinders the region’s competitiveness. “This highly successful event provided a forum for practitioners to discuss these issues, propose ideas to tackle these challenges, and come up with options for reform.  Our state government  was pleased to partner with IFC, the World Bank and other sponsors in holding this important meeting in Puerto Rico, where the United States becomes a Caribbean nation”.

The World Bank Group’s global Trade Logistics portfolio has grown in the last four years to cover over 40 countries all over the world. The event brought together worldwide expertise and resources from this portfolio to assist the Caribbean in identifying potential trade logistics reforms.

“IFC is committed to promoting economic growth and regional integration in the Caribbean,” said Alvaro Quijandría, IFC Regional Manager for Investment Climate in Latin America and the Caribbean. “With this program we are seeking to facilitate access to global markets and lower the high trade-logistics costs that are still a challenge for businesses in the region.”

Representatives from the United States, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Mauritius, Panama, and several other Caribbean states shared their experiences during the learning event. By leveraging regional and international expertise, participants were able to identify areas needing reforms to improve regulations and cargo movement at ports.

The two-day event, which is part of the IFC Trade Logistics project in the English-speaking Caribbean Islands, was co-hosted by Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State, the Port Authority of San Juan, the US Customs and Border Protection of the Department of Homeland Security, the Puerto Rican Treasury Department, and Puerto Rico’s Chamber of Commerce.

About the IFC Trade Logistics Project in the English-Speaking Caribbean

The project seeks to improve trade logistics and regional harmonization in selected Caribbean countries, particularly in members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The project is implemented in partnership with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit
www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.

About the Australian Agency for International Development

The Australian Agency for International Development is the Australian Government agency responsible for managing Australia’s overseas aid program, which focuses on areas where it can make a real difference to people’s lives. In the Caribbean, it focuses on climate change and disaster-risk reduction, economic resilience, and people-to-people and institutional links. It is guided by the Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction. Through its partnership with CARICOM, Australia will continue to assess ways in which it can share expertise and contribute to the development priorities of the region. For more information, visit
www.ausaid.gov.au

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