UK agrees to re-open air passenger tax talks

| 23/01/2012

hague.jpg(CNS): The UK has agreed to re-open the dialogue with Caribbean countries on issues relating to the Air Passenger Duty (APD) which is threatening the region’s tourism sector. The UK agreed “in the spirit of cooperation and in the context of the importance of tourism to the economic development of the Caribbean,” at this weekend’s forum to continue dialogue with a view to assisting the region in mitigating any deleterious effects the tax may have on its economies. At the end of the seventh UK-Caribbean Forum in Grenada the Caribbean and the United Kingdom have also agreed on a new strategic partnership to promote prosperity growth and development within both regions.

The partnership is reflected in a 31-point action plan (below) which was issued at the end of the two-day political dialogue on Sunday afternoon. The action plan outlines four major areas of cooperation: economic resilience, security, climate change and sustainable development and foreign policy.

According to a release from the FCO the Foreign Ministers agreed to build economic resilience through development of practical mechanisms that will boost growth in investment, employment, production and trade opportunities that would benefit both regions. The UK agreed to support the efforts of the Caribbean in improving their food security through efficient production and distribution measures.

The Foreign Ministers also agreed to develop effective coordination mechanisms to help advance the fight against drugs and international crime as well as tackling pressing socio-political and security issues which threaten international peace and security.
In the area of climate change and sustainable development the UK noted that the Caribbean already had a very strong voice in the international community and is poised to “give value for money.” Foreign Ministers agreed on the urgency of closing mitigation gaps to bring global temperatures well below 2oC.

“When I became Foreign Secretary I was determined to reinvigorate the UK’s relationships with its partners across the Caribbean,” the Foreign Secretary William Hague said. “This year’s Forum has afforded me my first opportunity to demonstrate this commitment in concrete terms, by hearing first hand the value of our relationships and how we can improve them.”

He noted that the UK and the Caribbean already work together on a broad range of issues such as counter-narcotics operations and criminal justice and the UK has committed to increasing aid to the region by fifty per cent over the next four years
“We want to strengthen and deepen our cooperation on these and other issues,” Hague added.

“Historically the UK and Caribbean have close ties, but there has been a sense on both sides that the relationship is not delivering. I now want to see a new era beginning, where both sides can share knowledge and expertise and which is characterised by stronger trade relations. This should be a modern partnership based on prosperity and cooperation, and we will continue to work towards this aim.”

Around one and a half million British tourists visited the Caribbean in 2010, and tourism is a key plank of the economy.

The UK is a major investor in the Caribbean and recent large investments have included those of BG in Trinidad & Tobago, and Pinewood Studios in the Dominican Republic.
See action plan posted below

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Comments (3)

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  1. Whodatis says:

    The policy was senseless in the first place.

    As for 'climate change' of today – the Romans were tending to vineyards all the way North to what is now known as the Scottish border in the UK.

    Damn those pesky CO2 emitting planes, trains and automobiles of yesterday!

    Wait … never mind.

    Follow the money folks – then you will really understand this 'pressing and urgent' campaign for the (expensive) fight against global warming – whoops, I really should keep up with the ever-changing terminology – I mean 'climate change'.

  2. Anonymous says:

    About bloody time!

  3. Anonymous says:

    About time, currently the taxes and fees are higher that the actual plane fare!!