Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | January 14, 2013
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St. Kitts looks to CARICOM for help on high-income status
Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas says he will look towards his Caribbean Community (CARICOM) colleagues to help St. Kitts-Nevis deal with the new high income country status placed on it by the United States.

Dr. Douglas said that his administration would pursue talks with the Obama administration so as to ensure that despite the new status the trading privileges afforded to other CARICOM countries are preserved.

We are expected to have an increase in the quality of service that we provide and improvement in the quality of the goods that we would trade to other countries, Dr. Douglas said.

It is expected that the service generally that we will provide, for example service to investors locally and overseas, that there would be general improvement, he told listeners to his weekly radio programme Ask the Prime Minister.

Dr. Douglas said that citizens would have to be prepared mentally and professionally to deal with the new status since these expectations can become challenging if we are not in a state of readiness for it.

He added that we would want to make sure that we continue the dialogue which we have started with the United States government to ensure that even though we have attained this particular status, that some of the trading privileges that weve had and shared with other CARICOM countries, with the United States of America, that these can be preserved, he said.

Dr. Douglas is of the view that the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the CARICOM Secretariat would be involved in assisting the federation in any of the negotiations.

President Obama said recently that it was his intention to terminate the designation of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme in accordance with the provisions of the 1974 Trade Act.

He said this was because St. Kitts-Nevis had become a high-income country as defined by the World Bank and accordingly its eligibility for trade benefits under the GSP programme will end on January 1, 2014.

CMC

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