BRIDGETOWN: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states are implementing a new system aimed at protecting consumers from acquiring dangerous goods on regional markets.
The Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat is assisting member states in implementing the CARICOM Rapid Alert System for Exchange of Information on Dangerous (non-food) Consumer Goods (CARREX) as the region seeks to boost consumer protection and confidence as well as improve the quality of products entering and trading on the regional market.
“CARREX will act in the interests of regional consumers regardless of the origin of these dangerous goods whether of Community origin or imported into the Community, once there is an inherent threat to the health and safety of consumers,” said Philip McClauren, the deputy program manager at the Barbados-based CARICOM CSME Unit.
The program functions as an alert system and is designed to operate as a regional mechanism for sharing information between member states and the CARICOM Secretariat when a dangerous product is detected.
While addressing the CARREX In-Country Consultation in Barbados last week, McClauren said that the system must be seen as a critical mechanism for the region. It was designed in response to concerns of persistent product dumping on the regional market.
McClauren said the international agencies in the region are primarily concerned about their markets and are not obligated to act or “issue alerts if the dangerous goods are in a foreign market”, including the Caribbean.
CARREX software would function as a web portal system for sharing information and the CARICOM Secretariat is using the in-country missions to fine-tune and address the technical concerns associated with the system so as to ensure it is user friendly and accessible to all stakeholders.
Barbados is the fifth CARICOM country visited by the team.