Caribbean trade ministers have drawn up a list of 42 items the region will allow earthquake-ravaged Haiti to export to neighbors for the next three years without having to open its market in return officials have said.
The announcement came at the end of a two-day ministerial meeting at the CARICOM Headquarters, Guyana that considered a special request from Haiti to be allowed to access regional markets on a preferential basis to help it recover economically.
The list of non reciprocal goods includes paintings, drawings, peanut butter, corn flour, wooden table and kitchen wares, basket work and cocoa beans among others.
CARICOM said in a release that Haiti had asked for the special assistance in May to help it encourage increase economic activity. The ministers had agreed to the request and heads of government had endorsed the agreement,” CARICOM said. The new agreement is effective from the beginning of January.
Antiguan cabinet minister Joanne Massiah who chaired the meeting said, “Haiti posed unique challenges to the bloc but every effort should be made by CARICOM to assist it.”
Haiti is the region’s most populous member state and the last to become a member.