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IFC, Australia Sign First Partnership Agreement to Address Trade Reforms in the Caribbean


In Lima, Peru:
Clara Ugarte Perrin, IFC
Phone: + 511 6112501
E-mail: Cugarteperrin@ifc.org


Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, May 29, 2012—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Australian Agency for International Development signed their first partnership agreement to support Caribbean governments in their implementation of trade logistics reforms, which will increase regional competitiveness and help reduce poverty.

Trade is important for the Caribbean, but the region faces high logistics costs that constrain its competitiveness in the international marketplace. Through this partnership, IFC’s Trade Logistics Program in the Caribbean and AusAID aim to address the regional disadvantages by working with national governments and the private sector to simplify trade procedures and processes. This in turn will help expand regional import and export industries and reduce poverty through job-creation and growth.

“Our partnership with IFC strengthens our ability to help the Caribbean manage and respond to its economic challenges. Together, we will take a practical approach to address a critical issue for individual Caribbean countries and the wider region.” said Hannah Bleby, AusAID’s Head of Program in the Caribbean. "This collaboration is an important part of our four-year partnership with CARICOM for development assistance."

Caribbean economies ranked between 40th and 110th in the indicator for ease of trading across borders in the latest World Bank Group’s Doing Business report. One in every four firms believes that trade, customs regulations, and costs are a major constraint to growth; while shipping and port charges in the Caribbean are 30 percent higher than the world average.

Paolo M. Martelli, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, believes there is an opportunity to address these challenges with trade logistics reforms. “This partnership with AusAID reinforces our strategy to promote open and competitive markets in the Caribbean,” said Martelli. “Our partner’s commitment is fundamental in bringing knowledge and experience to strengthen IFC’s impact and to reach our beneficiaries in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

IFC’s Trade Logistics Program in the Caribbean also receives support from the Canadian International Development Agency. With Australia and Canada’s contributions, the program will be able to increase its emphasis on regional cooperation for facilitating commerce and implementing solutions to harmonize trade and promote economic growth in the Caribbean.

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.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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In Port of Spain, T&T
Trionne Phillips, AusAID Caribbean
Phone: +1868 822 5481
E-mail: Trionne.Phillips@ausaid.gov.au