OECS countries to focus on international trade
April 1, 2005

OECS countries to focus on international trade

Some of the top minds of the Caribbean met in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on March 21 and 22 to address the issue of treatment of differences in size and level of development relevant to OECS Countries in their pursuit of trade negotiations.{{more}}

The purpose of the workshop was to look at the issue of treatment of smaller economies in trade agreements at various levels. Speaking at the two day workshop, Minister of Foreign Affairs Commerce and Trade Louis Straker, said that in Doha, “Ministers recognized the major role international trade in the promotion of economic development and poverty alleviation as enshrined in the preamble to the Doha declaration.”

The Preamble to the declaration states “to make positive efforts designed at ensuring developing countries secure a share in the growth of world trade commensurate with the needs of the economic development.” According to Minister Straker this gives recognition to the need for differentiation of the treatment among members.

Meanwhile, Director of the OAS National Office in St. Vincent and the Grenadines Merlene Glynn, said the issue of differential treatment is of immediate and critical importance to small and relatively less developed economies (SRLDE’s).

Quoting from a recent publication, “Beautiful but Costly”, facilitated through the Commonwealth Secretariat, Randolph Cato, Director of Economic Affairs OECS Secretariat addressed the question of the costs of doing business in small economies.

“The issue is not just the question of size but the costs that are imposed as a consequence of the size, the capabilities and abilities of small economies to insert themselves into the global trading agenda in a way that is beneficial,” Cato said.

Deputy Director, OAS Office of Trade, Growth, and Competitiveness Dr. Sherry Stephenson, Director of Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery Ambassador Richard Bernard, and Director External Relations CARICOM Faye Housty were among those who made presentations at the workshop.

Some of the topics covered over the two days OAS/CIDA workshop included: Special and Differential Treatment a CARICOM Perspective, Asymmetrical Treatment in the FTA’S in the Western Hemisphere, Intellectual Property, Services and Investment.