Launch of the 10th EDF Economic Integration and Trade of the OECS Region
The programme is based on the OECS development and integration strategy and seeks to support the deepening of OCES integration, through the establishment of the OECS Economic Union which commenced on December 10th 2012.
His Excellency Felix Gregoire, Commissioner to the OECS and Ambassador to the OECS and CARICOM stated, this project is aimed at contributing towards the establishment of OECS Economic Union as a single financial and economic space, through the development of a harmonized policy legislative regulatory and administrative framework.
For the tourism aspect the programme intends to prepare status updates on the free movement of goods, services and people, while developing a plan of action to coincide with the treaty of Basseterre.
It will also boost competitiveness and export capacity of the OECS Private Sector.
Elma Gene Isaac, the Project Coordinator of the OECS Regional Integration Unit, pointed out that this project is a continuation of the support that has been provided to the region by the European Union (EU).
She said they will be looking into labour market information systems, as one of the elements because if we talk integration of people and labour we need to have an understanding of what the market looks like and its trends.
She said going further they will be looking into transitioning from the tourism product they offer to health and wellness.
Ms. Isaac stated while a lot of work is being done in the public sector, it is the private sector that is involved in trading so all need to be done to enhance their ability to do this more effectively.
Ms. Debra Blackman, Project Officer of the OECS Regional Integration Unit, highlighted that one of the areas the private sector will deal with is capacity building, with the main focus on coalition of services.
She added the manufacturing and services sectors will be monitored which include arts and crafts, film and music.
Ms. Blackman said the support provided will be financial on a core sharing basis.
In the coming weeks the OECS Secretariat proposes to conduct consultations in Member States with the public and private sector to advise on; Programme activities’ and areas of focus, including for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) and synergies with national programmes.