St. Kitts-Nevis and the WTO TFA

St. Kitts-Nevis WTO TFA

St. Kitts-Nevis moves as the light turns green for implementation of the WTO TFA

What does this mean for the private sector? Signatories to the agreement believe that the major beneficiaries of this agreement is the private sector entities that fully embrace the WTO TFA.  Through improved  global trade mechanisms, new exporters will experience a smoother process that facilitates access to markets otherwise blocked by complicated trade procedures; trade exports worldwide are expected to grow by 20 per cent while associated costs are expected to be reduced by as much as 14 per cent.  WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo’s comments on the entry into force of the agreement here.

The benefits at both the private sector and country level require a commitment to public-private dialogue, (PPD). Governments create the policies that facilitate trade however, benefits can only be derived if the private sector is able to implement those policies and this is most effectively achieved when there is active engagement in the process through consultation and collaboration.

What does the green light mean for us? Upon entry into force of the Agreement on February 22, 2017, St. Kitts-Nevis became accountable for implementing all the procedures filed under Category A.  It also requires us to now submit information under Category B (provisions that will be implemented after a transition period) and Category C (provisions for which we require technical assistance).  

The Agreement means more than this for the private sector.  We have a golden opportunity to enhance our export development strategy by expanding it to include indigenous entities, positioning products in new markets.  The small size of our twin island Federation (St. Kitts and Nevis) does not determine our bench strength ergo our capacity to perform on a global level.  With active embassies around the world, it is time for us to deepen the conversation about the paving the stepping stones for our future in the global trade arena.

St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber partners with Min of Nat’l Security in fight against crime

Members of the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry & Commerce partner with the Ministry of National Security in the fight against crime.

The official handing over of t-shirts that will spread the message of Project Stop n Think (PSAT) across the Federation took place at the CIC Conference Room on April 3rd, 2017, thanks to the 13 sponsoring members of the SKNCIC.  Read more

CIC President – FIM 2016

Improving the OECS Business Climate was the topic ably addressed by thejose-eccb President of the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry & Commerce at this years Financial Information Month ((FIM).

Click here to view the full presentation.

St. Kitts-Nevis National Consultation – 2016

12376788_449171378615787_7476551677134939657_nMr. Jose Rosa

President of the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry & Commerce comments on what is required to Accelerate Growth and Build Resiliency in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Read the speech accelerating-growth-and-building-resilience-national-consulation-revised-by-jr

Brexit vs Caribbean

Is Brexit a threat for the Caribbean?

brexit vs caribbean

Britain has spoken! Availing themselves of their democratic right to be in full control of their own destiny, Brexit caused shock waves, felt around the world. Amongst those concerned, are the small islands territories making up the Caribbean.

There has been enough buzz for months about the potential impact of such an action. While many may have hoped for a different outcome as a means of security for themselves, today the reality is what it is and plans have to be made accordingly.

In the weeks ahead, while Britain defines its future in trade, immigration, tourism and other key areas, the Caribbean needs to pay close attention. Donor funding, while critical, is not the only area that needs to be reviewed. From CARIFORUM-EPA’s to foreign policy and tourism, there is much to be considered.

The Caribbean has enjoyed and anticipates continued strong ties to what, for most of the islands, was the proverbial “motherland”. The UK is home to many of our nationals proving that the ties that bind us are more than commercial ones.

Caribbean’s Correspondent Banking

Correspondent banking

Caribbean countries continue to pay very close attention to the challenges faced within the banking sector.

Alicia Nicholls in an article published on Caribbean Trade Law and Development clearly articulates the relationship between Caribbean banks and the international world.

“Correspondent banking relationships are Caribbean countries’ umbilical cord to the international financial system. They allow for the conduct of international trade and investment by facilitating crossborder payments, as well as the receipt and sending of remittances through international wire transfers. At the microlevel these relationships help local exporters to receive payments for their goods and services, local businesses to pay for imports, and poor families to receive remittances for their day to day survival. As I mentioned in an earlier article, the loss of correspondent banking relationships could spell disaster for the small, open economies of the region which are highly dependent on trade and investment flows, with implications for poverty reduction and eradication.”

Read more here

Cricket Support

A Message from SKNCIC President12376788_449171378615787_7476551677134939657_n

We were advised of the intent to close Government Offices tomorrow (June 15th, 2016), at 2:00 p.m. in support of the cricket match.

The official communique is pending, however, we would like to encourage our members to consider supporting the event in like gesture to that taken by Government.

Blazing the manufacturing trail…

Blazing the manufacturing trail

Keithley Phillip, Chairman – Mfg Div.

 

Blazing the manufacturing trail…

Manufacturing – how do we blaze the trail.?  Joan Lunden, noted journalist, author and television host opined, “It’s not always as comfortable blazing the trail as it is walking on it.” With this as a proviso, the new Council of the Manufacturing Division took office in February of 2016 and immediately set about “blazing the manufacturing trail” on behalf of members. Our team meets monthly and is comprised of the following persons:

 

Blazing the manufacturing trail with meaningful dialogue

Meetings

We met with the Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and raised some familiar and not so familiar questions

  1. ARTICLE 164 (Treaty of Chaguaramas) – how should we proceed on this matter? Should we follow the other OECS countries that have already implemented this article, by “cherry-picking” those commodities that are important to us? Or do we opt for a full implementation? The tone of the discussion seemed to suggest that full implementation would result in increased cost of living thus any possible action would have to go the route of cherry-picking. We await follow-up on this most urgent matter.
  2. BRAZIL-GUYANA-ST. KITTS PARTIAL SCOPE AGREEMENT – Our division is still very concerned with the fact that to date there has been no implementation of the Partial Scope Agreement between St. Kitts Guyana and Brazil. At our most recent meeting with the Minister of Trade it was decided that a delegation meet with the Brazilian Ambassador with a view of understanding where we stand in regards to the full implementation.
  3. EXPORT FACILITATION – our members are concerned about ways in which they can increase their level of business. We are of the belief that the following can be a first step in the achieving of the export objective.
  4. TRADE EXPORT DESK –there is the urgent need amongst our sector to increase our marketspace. Our local market, limited by our population size, is all but saturated. We have no recourse but to go further afield; but sometimes the process is so difficult that there is the need for someone to help in the facilitation of this endeavor.
  5. TRADE CREDIT INSURANCE – an EXIM Bank type arrangement to facilitate International Trade and to create viable opportunities for St. Kitts and Nevis products to enter new markets. As a first step, we need the opportunity for Trade Credit Insurance to protect against the loss of domestic and foreign receivables. Following on that, provision can be made whereby SMEs can procure trade financing arrangements including international lines of credit.

Workshops

  1. Hosted by Ministries of International Trade and Justice & Legal Affairs, there was a “National Workshop on the Benefits for Compliance and the National Implication of Non-Compliance of the Implementation of Trade Agreement Obligation, facilitated by Dr. Kathy-Ann Browne – important within this presentation is that businesses must be aware of their rights as it relates to trade matters.
  2. St Kitts & Nevis National Energy Balances Launch and discussion. St. Kitts now has the baseline it needs to evaluate annual performance.
  3. Attended OECS Regional Intellectual Property Workshop, Antigua May 19 – 20, 2016 covered:
  • Nature of copyright
  • The importance of utilising copyright to building your business – (Proper usage of photographs, images in advertising to sell products)
  • What is it and how can a company avoid infringement?
  • How can trademarks and trade secrets help companies to establish a brand identity and to boost the intangible value of the company/business?
  • The value to SME’s of entering into long term deals with local celebrities (Endorsement Merchandise Deals)
  • The importance of the legal usage of music when creating TV advertisements to sell a company’s products
  • The role of a synchronization deal

Important Observations…to blaze the manufacturing trail

  • Workshop was very timely especial the fact that it opened my eyes to the rights and liabilities we have or may incur. Things that we generally may take for granted
  • How can we use our trademark to establish our business brand identity, thus making our trademark synonymous with our brand and our products?
  • Chamber members must seek more info regarding their trademarks so that they can protect their marks, especially if they are manufacturing and may possess “secrets”.
  • Chamber members must at all times be careful when using music for adverts. Permission must be sought from the creator of the lyrics and music and not necessarily the singer of the song (unless they are both one and the same). Note–if at any time we infringe the rights of the creator of the music and the writer of the song we will be opening ourselves to law suits.
  • Manufacturers must all seek to register their trademarks to distinguish goods and services from other enterprises.

National Manufacturing Strategy

  1. The National Manufacturing Strategy has been officially launched and coming out of this, the structure of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council has been formalised. There are FOUR working sub committees three of which have already met and outlined their terms of reference and now the work begins; namely
  • Human Resource Development and Occupational Safety
  • Business Facilitation
  • Energy and Natural Resource

For this to work there must be complete buy-in to the goals and objectives put forth in the National Manufacturing Strategy, with full concentration on the manufacturing priority areas. These areas will provide the impetus for the overall growth of the sector and will redound to well needed benefits for all stakeholders. Our input and continued dialogue with stakeholders is critical to the success of this strategy.

Core Focus as we Blaze the trail for Manufacturing

The core focus of our executive over the next two years will be focused upon:

  1.  Product & Market Research and Development – keeping abreast of trends and investing in research and development that will improve our competitiveness. We intend to ensure that our members are given the tools t0 successfully bring their products to market. To this end we invite other manufacturers to get on board. I am also sending a blanket invitation to the Agro Processing sector to get on board and let the Chamber assist in getting your products into the export market. Of significance is also the need for market intelligence. It is unwise for us to think that we can exist within without having the requisite information as to what is happening within our market. We will seek ways to get this type of information available to our members. Important within this core focus area is the need for incubator type business arrangements for start-ups and fledging manufacturing businesses. Imagine the comfort despite the small size of having business support systems that are necessary in providing that added competitive edge needed for the business to succeed. We will continue to explore this and other possibilities that will help to grow our sector.
  2.  Standards and Regulations – becoming compliant with the various standards and regulations that govern an export trade. Our sector is supportive of the grant awarded to the Bureau of Standards from the CSME Standby Facility of $198,791 USD EPA for Capacity Building Projects that will help finance the enhancement of the National Quality Infrastructure and facilitate the development of national standards. This augurs well for our sector and will indeed enhance our competitiveness as we seek to expand our export capabilities. We take on board practices that exists in Jamaica where a stamp of quality from the Jamaica Bureau of Standards assures the purchaser of a high level of quality and the goods are then free to be sold in the local market or to be exported. That level of acceptance of our Bureau of Standards is what we are aiming for.
  3.  Education and Skills Development – working with schools, colleges and the TVET Council to ensure that skills and subject areas required for success in the manufacturing sector are not only included in the curriculum but staffed with qualified personnel.

 

Conclusion

With those few words I will close as I began …… “It’s not always as comfortable blazing the trail as it is walking on it.”

Ours is a very challenging task but one that we relish and do intend to be forever mindful that the job that we have undertaken, we do so for the combined benefit of our sector and the individual benefit of our members.

 

 

Mr. Jose Rosa elected as President

A special congratulation is in order for our new president- Mr. Jose Rosa!

 

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UnknownOur 67th Annual General Meeting resulted in Mr. Jose Rosa being the newly elected President of the St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce. We are truly excited to have Mr. Rosa lead as we continue in our endeavors to forge new beginning and improve the standard and quality of life of all people of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Declaration Release Re: Crime & Violence

The St. Kitts-Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce on Wednesday affirmed that the Organisation continues steadily with its strategy to address crime and violence in the Federation. The Chamber has submitted a paper with 40 recommendations to the Government, is a member of the National Crime Task Force and has met twice with the consultant to the Ministry of National Security, Mr Mark Mershon. The Chamber spokesperson, Executive Director Ms Wendy Phipps, also cited ongoing work with its tripartite non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners, namely St. Kitts Christian Council and St. Kitts Evangelical Association – even in the face of what is regrettably now the recording of our Country’s twelfth murder for the year 2009.

Together with the Christian Council and Evangelical Association, the Chamber is also currently engaged in revisiting an ongoing project of setting ethical guidelines for the political process as our Federation approaches the next General Election. This initiative, whose genesis was in 1993, was bolstered and re-defined in June 1995 when the religious organisations on both islands, along with the Nation’s four major political parties jointly signed a Code of Conduct for the Political Process. This document set out the preferred behaviour and practices of (a) the Electoral Commission; (b) the Political Candidates, their Associates & Supporters; (c) the Voters; and (d) the Media.

 

Meanwhile, the Chamber calls for all of our leaders – be they civic, religious, political or Governmental – to conduct themselves with respect for self and others, to be responsible for their articulations on and off the platforms, airwaves, print and electronic media, and to avoid immature, irresponsible and inflammatory comments that will be destructive to others while inciting our criminal element into further anti-social behaviour. The Chamber feels strongly that any rhetoric of politicians of any party which has connotations of or suggest violence or disorder as a way of resolving political disputes is unacceptable and must be avoided. To do otherwise would be to send a wrong message and set a bad example to impressionable young people whom parents/guardians, educators and civic leaders are trying to mould into productive, law-abiding and respectful citizens.

 

The Chamber also admonishes the public to (a) continue being vigilant and intolerant of criminal activity and violence in the Federation and (b) give their full support to the Police in addressing crime. Ms Phipps also took the opportunity, once more, to express the Chamber’s gratitude to the general public for its overwhelming support of the April 2, 2009 March & Rally Against Crime that was organized in conjunction with the Christian Council and Evangelical Association. She also cited The Declaration on the Way Forward to Address Crime and Violence in the Federation which was signed at the April 2, 2009 Rally in Warner Park. It was noted that this document is available for public dissemination, discussion and implementation, and can be found on the Chamber’s website www.stkittsnevischamber.org .