Trade Projects

The Trade Directorate of the Association of Caribbean States hosts a variety of meetings as a part of its commitment to the promotion and facilitation of trade relations between the Member States. Chief among these are the Business Forum and Forum of Trade Promotion Organizations, held jointly every year, the Textile and Fashion Forum of the Greater Caribbean, the Rum Dialogue and the Customs Facilitation meetings.

Business Forum and Forum of Trade Promotion Organizations

The Association of Caribbean States (ACS), driven by its objective to promote economic co-operation and trade integration among the countries of the Greater Caribbean region, organises on an annual basis, the Business Forum and the Forum of Trade Promotion Organisations of the Greater Caribbean. These Forums are organised with the support and collaboration of the host country.

One of the most important components of the Business Forum are the matchmaking sessions, which pair entrepreneurs with key contact people in the Caribbean business world. The Forum of Trade Promotion Organizations is also critical in this process, as presenters share strategies for the expansion of their businesses into the region and beyond.

To date, there have been 10 Business Forums. The eleventh Business Forum and Forum of TPOs will take place in Cartagena des Indias, Colombia.


Textile and Fashion Forum of the Greater Caribbean

The Textile and Fashion Forum of the Greater Caribbean was created as an academic arena for the exchange of ideas and innovations on regional co-operation in the fashion world. In March 2010, the first Forum was held, under the banner of Colombian fashion event PlataformaK. Through PlataformaK, regional designers were given the opportunity to showcase their work on the catwalk and make key business linkages in matchmaking sessions. Participating buyers from regional and international boutiques were able to see the work of well-established and up-and-coming designers through their matchmaking presentations, displays on the mini-catwalks and full-blown runway shows.


Rum Dialogue

The production of rum in the Greater Caribbean is part of our shared heritage as sugar-cane producing countries, and also forms an important part of the backdrop to our social lives. Recognizing this fact, the Association of Caribbean States organizes the Rum Dialogues, which are arenas for the key players in the rum industries for the region, to discuss strategies for penetrating the global market, while still retaining the unique characteristics which define each country’s product.


Customs Facilitation Meeting

Trade Facilitation represents a paradigm shift away from the sole emphasis on the revenue collection role of customs. The concept came to the forefront in 1996 during the WTO Singapore Ministerial meeting as the international business community expressed concern for greater transparency, efficiency and procedural uniformity for the cross-border transportation of goods. Since that time, the topic has emerged as a major trade-policy issue in the WTO’s Doha Work Programme as a result of the 31st Package agreed to in 2004.

Trade liberalization with is implied tariffs reduction globally, has brought to the fore the need to shift the paradigm to one of trade facilitation.

The Role of customs and similar regulatory government bodies is at the centre of this process. Trade facilitation is a complex area, encompassing government regulations and controls, business efficiency, transportation, information and communication technology and the financial services.

Trough the critical interplay of administrative demands and procedures, the process of trade in goods and services can either be accelerated or constrained.

The Association of Caribbean States through the Trade and External Economic Relations Directorate recognizes this fact, and acknowledges that our nations have many procedures and systems which have not kept pace with technology, modes of production, and distribution, and therefore need to upgrade to meet the demands of the new international Trade environment.

Customs is a mandatory element in the movement of goods across borders. Effective and efficient clearance of goods enhances industrial processes. When an industry functions efficiently, it impacts positively on the participation of the national economy at the global level and contributes significantly to the economic competitiveness of nations.

The ACS Trade Directorate has identified the necessity for Customs Authorities of the Greater Caribbean States to get together to share their achievements, discuss our issues and knowledge on this matter. After hosting in March 2005 the first Customs Facilitation Meeting at the headquarters of the ACS in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, it became part of the Trade Directorate work program that was approved by the ACS Member States and Associate Members.