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Services Sector critical to Region’s survival – Antigua/Barbuda’s Trade, Industry Minister

Posted in: Regional News by admin | 18 October 2016 | 5540

    Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Trade, Industry, Sports and Culture Chet Greene
    Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Trade, Industry, Sports and Culture Chet Greene

    Stakeholders in the Region’s Services Sector who have gathered in Antigua and Barbuda for a development symposium have been warned that the Region’s very survival was linked to the performance of the sector and their efforts to make it succeed. Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Trade, Industry, Sports and Culture Chet Greene told the Symposium’s Opening Ceremony, Monday, that Services continue to be the economic engine for the CARICOM/CARIFORUM region, impacting ‘our standard of living and indeed our very survival’ ‘The Services Sector continues to be the largest sector of the regional CARIFORUM (CARICOM and the Dominican Republic) economy. It accounts for more than 75 percent employment and 60 percent of output. It also accounts for the highest levels of foreign direct investment and has created a consistent trade surplus,’ the Minister reminded.

    Services Symposium_Minister Chet Greene from Caribbean Community on Vimeo. More than 150 regional public and private sector representatives are attending the three-day symposium which will seek to develop Regional Strategies and Action Plans to boost investment, output, employment and trade in the sector. The event will focus on increasing business in several priority areas including: o Professional Services o Information and Communication technologies (ICT) o Financial Services o Health and Wellness Services o Cultural, Entertainment and Sporting Services o Tourism Services, and o Education Services Minister Greene told the gathering today’s reality makes the symposium all the more important. He said new global informal centres of influence have emerged whose pronouncements have been significantly impacting the Region’s attractiveness and investment opportunities. He pointed to the blacklisting of Member States as tax havens, the delisting of financial institutions, and numerous downgrades by entities such as Standards and Poor’s. Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, CARICOM Secretariat, Mr. Joseph Cox from Caribbean Community on Vimeo. CARICOM Secretariat’s Assistant Secretary-General , Directorate of Trade and Economic Integration, Mr. Joseph Cox urged the Symposium’s participants to be proactive and practical in their recommendations. He said the implementation plans must take account of the current financial situation in Member States, many of whom are in the process of executing structural adjustment programmes. He cautioned that proposed solutions should also be practical and timely, given the rapid changes in technology. Monday’s Opening ceremony was also addressed by the Dean of the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Charde Desir, Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to CARICOM Dr. Clarence Henry and Services Specialist at the Caribbean Export Development Agency, Allison Francis. A summary of the recommended strategies and implementation plans will be presented at the close of the meeting on Wednesday to Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Lead Head of Government for Services in CARICOM.