Caribbean businesses want assurances that Canada’s provinces will abide by the terms of an agreement signed by the federal government, said Mr. Kowlessar. They also want to see non-tariff barriers addressed, including the requirement that workers and businessmen from some member countries obtain visas or labour market opinions to travel to Canada and do business here, he said.“We’re talking about the ability to ply your trade,” he said.
The specter of CARICOM’s 2008 free trade agreement with the EU, which he said has not provided ample opportunity to Caribbean businesses, is also making CARICOM members hesitant to sign a similar deal with Canada, he said.
In addition, some smaller Caribbean economies are looking to be treated differently from their larger neighbours within the deal with Canada, Mr. Rourke said. Concerns over meeting Canadian health and environmental standards, and Canadian imports flooding Caribbean markets, have also been raised in Caribbean newspapers.