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CARICOM discusses WTO issues

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CARICOM discusses WTO issues

Search form Search Main menu Home News Business Sports Columns Contact Us Senator Jerome Walcott, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (left) shaking hands with Stephen Kossoff, Head, Department for International Development (DFID) Caribbean and UK Executive Director for the Caribbean Development Bank (right), while Hannes Schloemann, of the Trade Advocacy Fund (TAF), looks on, during the opening of the three-day CARICOM Workshop on World Trade Organisation Issues, which started yesterday at the Savannah Beach Hotel.

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CARICOM discusses WTO issues Thu, 01/09/2020 – 6:13am The issue of global trade and in particular how the small island developing states like those within the Caribbean region can compete fairly, is high on the agenda of a regional workshop taking place in Barbados this week.

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Speaking yesterday morning during the opening of the three-day CARICOM Workshop on World Trade Organisation Issues, which started yesterday at the Savannah Beach Hotel, Senator Jerome Walcott, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade said this week’s meeting comes at a “very critical time”.

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He said, “Not only with regard to the issues of global trade, but in circumstances where that which, we Small Island Developing States have hitherto relied on, in the multilateral system, has begun to undergo a seismic shift at its core, this if allowed to continue would be to the detriment of Small states like ours, which have limited negotiating power.”

With that in mind, Minister Walcott maintained that for our survival Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like ours require a system, which delivers for all, irrespective of size and a system which is fair, balanced, and rules-based.

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“It is clear to all of us that the World Trade Organisation has been at a major crossroad for some time now. Despite the numerous meetings taking place almost daily in Geneva and in other places, it appears to many, that there is a lack of political will, to advance the mandates agreed at Ministerial Conferences. Admittedly and collectively, members have failed to deliver on the Doha Development Agenda in a meaningful manner and yet have embarked on new, albeit exciting areas of discussion,” he said.

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Minister Walcott indicated that this matter is of concern for small states like Barbados, given that many implementation issues remain unresolved. He added that for the Caribbean, there is also the issue of climate change which, he indicated, affects countries’ ability to trade intra-regionally and with the wider global community.

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“We need not look too far in our recent past, as we have seen the debilitating effects of many Category 4 and 5 hurricanes on our small, open economies. The effect these have had on the agriculture, infrastructure, tourism and wider trade in goods and services sectors, continues to be of major concern to us. Climate change is an issue which impacts the majority of issues being discussed under the ambit of the World Trade Organisation. We can no longer pay lip service to the issue of trade and climate change,” he added.VS Angel gigi russian

Meanwhile, speaking to the workshop, he urged participants to ensure that the critical issues confronting the region “are unpacked and analysed”, which would allow officials based in our capitals and Geneva, to participate more meaningfully at the multilateral level on issues of concern to the region.gigi russian model

“Issues with regard to the much touted WTO Reform agenda, Fisheries Subsidies, Agriculture, E-Commerce and MSMEs [Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises], Investment Facilitation, of which Barbados is a proponent, are on the meeting’s agenda. As you proceed, these ought to be looked at, not only from the perspective of the current state of play, and maintenance of policy space, but also with a view to ensuring, firstly that members of CARICOM can fully engage in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy where ensuring that our trade and development interests in Geneva are advanced and protected pursuant to the tenets of the Revised Treaty,” he said.gigi russian modelo

With that in mind, he said given the rapid developments relative to the operations of the WTO, and wider international trade community, it is imperative that the region’s trade mechanisms become more agile. He is therefore suggesting that moving forward the region may need the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development to have a “rapid-response mechanism”, to “allow CARICOM to issue comprehensive positions, simultaneously to their Geneva based representatives in the WTO“.gigi modelo rusa

“In this regard I commend the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development for recognising the need to re-examine the region’s external trade strategy. The Government of Barbados commits to playing a leading role in this process,” he added. (JRT)