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Senate approves various economic agreements with regional and international partners

Posted: Friday, January 29, 2021. 1:12 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: While the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards motion, 2021 dominated the day’s discussion in the Senate, there were several other economic agreements and treaties presented which only under Section 61(A) (2) (a) of the Constitution can authorize the Government to ratify.

The first was the Agreement between the Governments of Belize and the United Arab Emirates on Economic Cooperation, signed on 9 October 2019 by the former administration in Dubai, which received bipartisan support for developing partnerships in a wide range of areas.

The second was the Agreement between the Caribbean Community and the Republic of Venezuela (as it then was), signed in 1992 in Caracas for duty-free trade between the partners.

The third is the Agreement on Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation between the Caribbean Community and the Republic of Colombia, signed in 1994 in Cartagena, Colombia, and an accompanying protocol signed in Georgetown, Guyana, four years later.

And the fourth and last is the Agreement Establishing the Free Trade Area of the Caribbean Community and the Dominican Republic, signed in 1998 in Santo Domingo and accompanying protocol signed two years later.

Leader of Government Business, Senator Eamon Courtenay, explained that “we are doing a stocktaking in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and there are a number of agreements that are lying there, that this formality has not been completed. The interesting thing, of course, is that when these agreements were signed, the [Sixth] Amendment to the Constitution had not yet been done and therefore Senate ratification was not necessary. But still, no instrument of ratification was sent, so we are cleaning up the formalities.”

Each of the Agreements were approved without debate.


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