Trade negotiations could have negative effect on regions tourism

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) continues to speak on the possible implications of a series of ongoing trade negotiations for the region’s tourism services. Jean Holder, CTO’s secretary general, will participate in a daylong seminar on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) at the University of Miami on Saturday, September 20, 2003. Mr. Holder will be on a panel of experts which will discuss The Impact of the FTAA on Caribbean Economies.

The seminar entitled The Future of Caribbean Business in a Free Trade Area of the Americas is organised by the Caribbean Caucus of Ambassadors in Washington, DC and the Caribbean Consular Group in South Florida, in collaboration with the Greater Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce.

“While there are differing positions on the FTAA and the other trade negotiations like the General Agreement in Trade in Services and the Caricom Single Market and Economy, virtually everyone agrees that they all will impact on the region economically,” said Mr. Holder.

“The CTO has a responsibility to educate its membership about the negotiating process and the tourism issues, and to assist in formulating policies and negotiating positions. We also must articulate the need for a balance between protecting a number of services and seeking to exploit advantages that are opened up for our own people in other countries’ markets through the process of liberalisation,” he added.

Since the start of this year, CTO has hosted two separate discussions with key strategic regional partners, the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA),
Caribbean Latin American Action (CLAA), and the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM) on the trade talks and the challenges for the region in international negotiations in services.


And, next month, CTO will host a training workshop for its public sector membership to introduce its members to the negotiation processes for the CSME, FTAA, ACP/EU and GATT/WTO, focusing on the tourism-related issues involved these talks.

It is hoped that the participants attending the training workshop will become sufficiently familiar with the issues involved in the negotiations to enable them to contribute effectively to the formulation of negotiating positions that would enhance the competitiveness of the tourism industry.