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5th Technical Working Group on Market Access and Agriculture

CHRIST CHURCH, BARBADOS – The RNM will convene its 5th TWG on Market Access and Agriculture on February 10th. The establishment of TWGs was mandated by The Heads of Government meeting in Special (Emergency) Session on 11-12 October, 2001 in Nassau, The Bahamas. TWGs, co-ordinated by the RNM, are intended to bring together officials from across the Region to decide on positions in specific trade-related subject areas. The TWG Market Access and Agriculture will bring officials up to speed on progress achieved in the fulfillment of mandates in the FTAA and WTO context. Reference is made here to the last Ministerial Meeting of the FTAA held in Quito, Ecuador in November of 2002, where the Negotiating Groups on Agriculture and Market Access were mandated to pursue specific objectives with respect to trade liberalization in agriculture and market access, respectively. Similarly, in the WTO, in keeping with the work programme agreed for the third phase of these negotiations on agriculture, the Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture was mandated to prepare a report on the state of negotiating modalities for agriculture. The deadline established for the submission of draft initial offers for tariff liberalization under the FTAA is 14 February 2003. As such, CARICOM Member States will submit their draft initial tariff offers for discussion and harmonization at the meeting of the TWG, following consultation with relevant stakeholders at the national level. Further to this, there will be discussion on the status of negotiations regarding FTAA rules of origin and market access. Finally, in keeping with CARICOM Member States, with some exceptions, having submitted their base tariffs for FTAA negotiations prior to December 15, 2002 the TWG is also intended to further advance the submission process. To this end, the TWG will discuss the status of submission of base tariffs to the FTAA. For More Information Contact: Nand C. Bardouille Tel: (246) 430-1678 email: nbardouille@sunbeach.net

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