CARICOM voluntary sustainability standards Study Validation Workshop

21 October 2020
17:00 - 19:00 hrs. [Virtual/WebEx - Private event only for invited participants]

There are many trade-related market-access issues that have emerged due to the mainstreaming of voluntary sustainability standards (VSS). One of which is associated with small producers and MSMEs in developing countries where their governments are not always technically, financially or institutionally capable of reaping the development benefits of VSS.

In relation to CARICOM, which is comprised of 15 member states (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago), asymmetries in trade performance among these countries already exist. Thus, when incorporating VSS into the trade dynamics, further harmonisation of these standards through CROSQ could potentially address the lack of cohesion as independent states may have their own national standards agenda. Furthermore, the resources, expertise, experiences are at different levels of development and their participation at regional level may be a reflection of the individual state capacities.

Now that VSS have become a market access prerequisite especially for markets such as the EU and the US, CARICOM will have to address the overall situation associated with the limited capacity of national stakeholders to identify sustainable export opportunities that can provide an enabling environment for MSMEs and small producers to enter new markets.


The purpose of this event is to share the study findings of the on-going UNCTAD report on ´VSS Feasibility Study: CARICOM Export Potential to the EU´. This study addresses the issues identified particularly focused on how VSS can add-value to the products of regional interest in CARICOM in order to access high-value market at premium prices.


Representatives of the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and its constituency, namely representatives from the 15 National Bureaux of Standards in the CARICOM region.

Programme Timetable:

The virtual workshop will have 2 parts. The first part will be the presentation of the study findings from the report, especially focused on the EU regulations for import of the selected product sectors and the second part will be a discussion to validate recommendations from the study.

15:00 – 15:10 - Welcome Remarks – Deryck Omar, CEO CROSQ

15:10 – 15:20 - Remarks – Santiago FernandezdeCordoba, Senior Economist, UNCTAD

15:20 – 15:45 - Presentation of Feasibility Study Report, Key findings – Rodrigo Ruperez, VSS Expert, UNCTAD Consultant.

15:45 – 16:05 - Questions and Answers – Consultant and Participants

16:10 – 16:50 - Validation of recommendations – Ms. Ruby Lambert, UNCTAD

16:50 – 17:00 - Wrap-up – Mr Fulgence St. Prix, Technical Officer – Standards, CROSQ

Objective and Outcome:

The objective of the validation workshop is, firstly to present the study findings on the feasibility of VSS for the selected product sectors (Herbs & Spices, Cocoa, Sugar Cane Coconut and Aquaculture) and its pertinence to the EU market – competition within the EU market for example Herbs & Spices are also produced in some parts of EU, understanding gaps especially on regulations that are critical in EU and opportunities where the CARICOM exports can leverage on as a competitive advantage when looking at setting their product at premium value for a high-quality market like the EU. Second, to validate the recommendations presented in the study together with the CEOs of the 15 states in the CARICOM representing the National Standards Bureaux.

The outcome of this workshop will contribute to the UNCTAD´s on-going study report on ´VSS Feasibility Study: CARICOM Export Potential to the EU´.

UNCTAD Research Paper No. 9
(UNCTAD/SER.RP/2017/9) -  19 Sep 2017

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