logo logo

Trade agreement with Canada a main focus for CARICOM Council meeting

St Kitts & Nevis Observer | May 18 2011

Trade Agreement with Canada a Main Focus for CARICOM Council Meeting

CARICOM headquarters - Georgetown, Guyana

May 18 — During the upcoming 32nd Meeting of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in Georgetown, Guyana, the packed agenda will include updates with respect to on-going negotiations and implementation of already signed agreements. Discussions will open on Thursday, May 19.

According to a news release from the regional organization, its external trade agenda has been primarily focused on safeguarding its interests in the multilateral arena under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Doha Round. A dedicated focus has also been directed at pursuing a Trade and Development Agreement with Canada, the region’s third largest trading partner.

Under the bilateral negotiations with Canada, the region has engaged in three rounds thus far: the first two involved fruitful preliminary exchanges, which led to greater clarity on positions and perspectives on a number of issues on the negotiating agenda.

During the third round, which was held April 4 - 8, the region was able to present written proposals in a number of subject areas, which included Safeguards; Agriculture and Fisheries; Alcoholic Beverages; Technical Barriers to Trade; Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS); Facilitation of Business Persons; Institutional Issues; Dispute Avoidance and Dispute Settlement; and Development Cooperation. Framework texts on Trade in Services and Investment were also presented. CARICOM also had an opportunity to present its broad approaches in a number of sectors of particular importance, such as Tourism, Culture, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Telecoms, E-Commerce, and Energy Services.

The next steps towards a fourth Round will in part be informed by a detailed program of work which CARICOM and Canada were also able to identify during the last round. It is anticipated that the fourth round will be held in the Caribbean.

 source: St Kitts & Nevis Observer