CARICOMPress Releases

RNM/IICA Cooperation and Partnership Strengthened

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA – The Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) signed an important Cooperation Agreement, July 4. The signing took place on the margins of the Twenty-Fourth Meeting of CARICOM Heads in Montego Bay, Jamaica, July 2 to 5. RNM Director-General, Ambassador Dr. Richard Bernal and Dr. Chelston Braithwaite, Director-General of IICA, signed on behalf of the two organizations. The Cooperation Agreement’s main focus is to strengthen the RNM’s technical capacity to engage effectively in agricultural negotiations, primarily in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The Agreement will do this by providing the RNM with access to experts in some of the areas where the region has limited human and technical resources, such as sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures. It also provides the regional trade body with access to agricultural databases which should help in carrying out analytical work on the region’s agricultural sector and its competitiveness, so as to inform regional negotiating strategies and positions. IICA is expected to benefit from closer collaboration with the RNM by way of synchronization of work programmes and extending this programme to the trade aspects of agriculture policy in the Caribbean context. RNM chief, Ambassador Dr. Richard Bernal, commented at the signing that “this Agreement marks a new era in RNM/IICA cooperation”. He concluded, “I am confident the Agreement signals the beginning of a fruitful and productive relationship between our two institutions”.

For IICA’s part, Dr. Braithwaite welcomed the signing of the Cooperation Agreement as an important milestone. He added “IICA has accumulated a significant level of expertise in the technical preparations for agriculture negotiations from its Latin American members which it is committed to make available to IICA’s Caribbean members”. He sited, as an example, some of the lessons learnt by IICA through its assistance to Chile in its bilateral trade agreement with the United States which could be of great benefit to the Caribbean, as the region engages in challenging negotiations at the multilateral and hemispheric levels. Dr. Deryck Brown, RNM Director of Technical Cooperation and Partnerships, who was responsible for bringing the agreement to conclusion, commented at the ceremony that: “This Agreement is yet another example of successful collaboration with regional, hemispheric and international institutions that the RNM has been able to foster, all with a view to improving the region’s capacity, as well as its prospects, in the various negotiating arenas in which the Caribbean is involved”. For More Information Contact: Nand C. Bardouille Tel: (246) 430-1678 email: nand.bardouille@crnm.org

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