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.