St Kitts and Nevis government has approved the protocol to amend Article 83 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC), which governs the 15-member regional integration grouping, CARICOM according to an official statement.
It said that Cabinet had given the green light to amend the protocol, which gives CARICOM member states more freedom to conduct their domestic affairs while adhering to their commitments under the law.
“Additionally, it gives the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) more power to permit member states to suspend the Common External Tariff (CET) on imports and apply a higher, lower, or even zero tariff rate,” the statement said.
A common external tariff is an import tariff – tax or duty to be paid on a particular class of imports or exports – applied equally by each country participating in a customs union, such as CARICOM.
The revised CARICOM CET outlines the duties imposed on different goods or items based on specific classes determined by COTED.
According to the statement, at the 34th COTED meeting in 2012, it was agreed that Article 83 should be amended to allow member states the flexibility to adjust tariffs (upwards or downwards) in the context of their international obligations.
The protocol to amend Article 83 of the RTC establishing the CARICOM Single Market Economy (CSME) that allows for the free movement of goods, services, labour and finances across the region was opened for signature for all member states in March 2014.
St Kitts and Nevis signed the protocol on July 4th, 2014.