St. Kitts and Nevis government continues to work to finalize Partial Scope Agreement
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Minister of International Trade and Commerce the Honourable Lindsay Grant eembarked on a mission this year to revisit the Guyana- Brazil, St. Kitts-Nevis Partial Scope Agreement, which, when finalized, will give manufacturing companies in St. Kitts and Nevis a near zero percent tariff entry into the English and Portuguese-speaking South American countries’ markets.
“This has been dangling for in the region of 10 years now and the manufacturers here have been crying out for us to finally conclude the Partial Scope Agreement,” said the minister during the 2018 Budget Address Dec. 8. “So, for 2017, we have worked rather tirelessly with the officials in Guyana and Brazil to conclude this very protracted partial scope agreement.”
Minister Grant said that the agreement is in its final stages and his ministry has sent representatives from St. Kitts and Nevis to engage in discussions.
“We have had the opportunity of having an official from the Ministry of International Trade and the president of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Jose Rosa, travel to Guyana to meet face-to-face to meet with their Guyanese and Brazilian counterparts in an effort to explore the modalities for a new trading arrangement and to finally conclude this most important agreement,” he said.
Benefits of the signing of the agreement will be felt across the entire manufacturing sector in St. Kitts and Nevis, said the Minister of Trade. “Part of that visit, Mr. Speaker, was to make certain that the agreements made provisions to benefit our small manufacturers here in St. Kitts and Nevis and not only to the enclave sector, but to the entire manufacturing sector,” he said. “As you would appreciate, the Brazil market is a huge market and once we sign off on this agreement and have it enforced, it therefore means our goods produced by our local manufactures can enter the Brazilian market without hindrance. So, it is very important.”
The minister said that the Brazilians have also submitted a counterproposal to have goods enter into the federation’s market. “Obviously they want goods into our market also and so it is a give and take,” he said.
Minister Grant said that the manufacturing sector is not the only aspect of trade that is being looked into within the agreement, but also there are other sectors that may interest the Brazilian and the Guyanese market. “So, we look toward agriculture, which has a very important component also in terms of the market in Guyana and Brazil,” he said.
Minister Grant assured that the government will continue to work on finalizing the agreement. “We expect that when 2018 rolls in, we hope to conclude this most important agreement; I would hope in the first quarter of 2018,” said the minister.