Belize negotiating PSA with El Salvador

Belize Launched the First Round of Negotiations for a Partial Scope Agreement with El Salvador yesterday. The PSA addresses a range of issues including market access for agricultural goods and products, investments, cooperation, legal and Institutional arrangements. Mike Singh, is the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Trade, Investment, Private Sector Development

Mike Singh – C.E.O. in the Ministry of Trade:
vlcsnap-2013-02-20-19h12m02s97Today is preliminary.  We’re setting the stage for the items that we will be discussing.  We will start reviewing some of the lists of items that would be permitted under this agreement.  This agreement, we’re hoping, will be a little bit different, because we’re looking at including services as an integral part of the agreement. We also feel that the Salvadoran delegates have come with very good faith, that they see Belize as a positive step for them in integrating their trade within the Central American Region, and also having Belize serve as a linkage for them with the other Regions.

This agreement is expected to create export opportunities for industry and contribute to overall economic growth through promoting trade, foreign direct investment, employment and revenue generation. Carlos Moreno is the Trade Policy Director for the Ministry of Economy in El Salvador.

Carlos Moreno – Trade Policy Director, Ministry of Economy, El Salvador:
vlcsnap-2013-02-20-19h12m11s195We see Belizeas a strategic partner.  We are trying to diversify the markets of the products that we are exporting right now,  So far it’s been about having these trade relations with economies like the United States and the Central American Countries, particularly Guatemala and Honduras. We know that we are in a position now that we have to diversify our products, diversify our destinations for our exports.  The Caribbean area is very important to us within this plan that we are facing now.  We would like to expand our products to countries like Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, other countries like Dominican Republic, Cuba.  In that direction we are trying to conduct negotiations for preferential treatment of our products with these countries.

In addition, the PSA will serve to deepen trade relations with El Salvador allowing for greater market penetration into Central America.

Mike Singh – C.E.O. in the Ministry of Trade:
We recognize that our market size is fairly small, however the size of the market in El Salvador is very large.  Do it means that we have more to gain, because we have access to a lot more people to buy your products.  While they would have access for our people to buy their products.  We will, of course, be very cautious ti be sure that many of the products and services that are produced in Belize are protected, in as much as we can do that.  Our goal is to extend the access for Salvadoran companies to enter our market at a protracted date, while Belize gets immediate access on most items.  We’re hoping to achieve something preferential, to the benefit of our producers and our local exporters.  The centre of the discussion, I believe, will be around how can El Salvador, through this trade agreement, not only look at Belize as a market for then to access, but as CARICOM and Mexico’s markets for them to access.  Likewise, how do we bring those markets in so that they can link into Central America?

The Private sector is encouraged to liaise with the Ministry of Trade to access business opportunities arising from this agreement both for import and export purposes. The first of three rounds of negotiations concludes on Thursday of this week with the signing of an Aide Memoir between the two countries.

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