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Monday, March 14, 2005 - Director of Commerce, Titus Preville has urged local businesses to align themselves with the various local organizations or bodies established to provide the necessary support in preparation for the establishment of the Caribbean Single Market an Economy (CSME).

Mr. Preville made the call at the opening of an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) seminar for local businesses on Monday, March 14, 2005 at the Cara Suites Hotel. The initiative, spearheaded by the office of the Prime Minister is one in a series of activities organized for the business community under the theme ‘Protect and Position Your Business for CSME’.

Addressing the participants, Mr. Preville said businesses within the services sector had been able to organize themselves under the newly formed National Coalition of Services Industries, and advised others within the private sector to follow suit.

“It is only when you have yourselves form into some sought of association that you can begin to define some of the issues that face you. You can begin to define some of the rules and regulations that ought to govern business in that particular sector. The thing with competition is that, there is nothing wrong with competition but all competition must be regulated with certain rule and guidelines that govern competition. Without those guidelines then anything goes and that is a recipe for chaos”, Mr. Preville said.

While the CSME will provides opportunities for the expansion of markets, especially in the services sector, the Commerce Director warned that there were still common weaknesses that might compromise the island’s ability to take advantage of these opportunities.

Cabinet Secretary, Dr. James Fletcher, who also addressed the participants, said government under the CSME would no longer be able to provide protection from market forces and competition. He urged the local private sector persons to make full use of the opportunities being made available that would help strengthen their competitive edge.

“If we do not know the rule of the game and understand the modes of engagement then we will not be able to play in the arena. It is that simple. This initial seminar focuses on the implementation of two specific ISO standards – the ISO 9001 series and ISO 15489, and addresses the various processes needed to consistently and systematically deliver high quality products and service to customers, and consequently, improve competitiveness at both the micro-economic and macro-economic levels”, Dr. Fletcher said.

ISO is a series of international standards developed by quality experts from around the world for use by companies that either want to implement their own in-house quality systems or to ensure that suppliers have appropriate quality systems in place.


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