(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Ministers of Trade of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and of the Republics of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama today launched free trade negotiations in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The negotiations which will build on the existing free trade agreement between CARICOM and Costa Rica are intended to result in an agreement that would deepen and strengthen trade and economic relations between the two sub-regions.
Leading the respective delegations were the Honourable Yolanda Mayora de Gavidia, Minister of the Economy of El Salvador on behalf of Central America and the Honourable Kenneth Valley, Minister of Trade and Industry of Trinidad and Tobago and CARICOM Lead Minister for bilateral trade agreements.
Ministers of Trade from CARICOM and Central America meeting in Belize on 22-23 February, 2007 had affirmed their commitment to work towards closer bilateral trade relations. Heads of State and Government of CARICOM and SICA during their Second Summit in Belize on May 12 2007, agreed to convey through their Ministers to the relevant officials instructions to initiate discussions for a Free Trade Agreement between CARICOM and SICA building on the CARICOM-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement and recommit to commence the required negotiations to formalize trade relations among their countries. Senior Trade Officials of CARICOM and Central America met in a technical exploratory meeting in Panama City, Panama on May 30, 2007.
The Ministerial launch will be followed by the first round of technical level negotiations on 9-10 August also in Trinidad and Tobago. Representing the Caribbean Community will be senior trade officials from Belize, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago who will be supported by the CARICOM Secretariat and the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery. Central America will be represented by senior trade officials from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Costa Rica will be an observer in the technical negotiations.
08 August, 2007
Trinidad and Tobago