CanadaPress ReleasesTradeTrinidad and TobagoWorld Trade Organisation

Canadian Minister talks Trade in the Region

CHRIST CHURCH, BARBADOS – Minister Pierre Pettigrew, the Canadian Minister of International Trade, met his CARICOM counterparts in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on March 10. The meeting was co-Chaired by Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Trade and Industry Hon. Kenneth Valley. The meeting provided an opportunity for both sides to assess progress made in beleaguered global trade talks at the World Trade Organization (WTO). WTO Doha Agenda negotiations have stalled due to fundamental differences and entrenched positions on a number of key issues. Agriculture remains the major divisive issue among developed as well as developing countries. Ministers were concerned that a March 4 to 5 meeting of the WTO's Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) resulted in no progress in bridging the divide between WTO members. The current state of affairs does not auger well for the fifth WTO Ministerial to be held in Cancun, Mexico this September at the midway mark in global trade negotiations. Apart from reviewing the WTO negotiations, Ministers also had an exchange of views on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations. They looked specifically at the prospects, progress and challenges of hemispheric trade negotiations. The FTAA negotiations are targeted to be completed by December 31, 2004. These negotiations are at an advanced stage. Initial market access offers were made between December 2002 and February 2003 and revised offers are due by July 2003. Both sides acknowledged the importance of formulating measures to take account of the concerns of small developing economies in the FTAA. In this regard, the Ministers emphasized the critical contribution of the Hemispheric Cooperation Programme (HCP). The HCP is intended to strengthen the capacity of countries to participate in the negotiations, implement their commitments and respond to challenges which result from the adjustment to integration. CARICOM Ministers and Minister Pettigrew also took the opportunity to reiterate their commitment to CARICOM-Canada bilateral free trade negotiations. In addition, CARICOM Ministers of Trade received a briefing on the Canada-Costa Rica free trade area and the status of Canada’s negotiations with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) head, Ambassador Dr. Richard Bernal, said “this meeting is a continuation of a high level political dialogue which to date has involved WTO chief Supachai Panitchpakdi, Ambassador Zoellick, and Commissioner Lamy”. Further, the Ambassador described the meeting as “timely and constructive, given the current state of negotiations in the WTO and FTAA”. For More Information Contact: Nand C. Bardouille Tel: (246) 430-1678 email:

Show More
Back to top button