By Shermain Bique-Charles
Within days of taking up his new position, Colin Murdoch, the recently appointed OECS ambassador and permanent representative to the UN World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, has hit the ground running.
Speaking to Observer from the Swiss city, Murdoch said he is busy preparing for the upcoming MC12, the WTO trade ministerial which opens at the end of November in Geneva, where some important ministerial declarations and a plan of action for OECS countries will be taken.
“This declaration is currently being worked upon. Some parts of the text are settled and pretty stable but some parts are still under negotiation,” Murdoch said.
Trade ministers from across the world are expected to travel to Geneva for the high-level meeting and Murdoch tells Observer that “it’s all busy here at the WTO and of course one has to jump right in and get on with the job”.
Admitting that the new position is challenging, Murdoch however is confident that OECS countries, including the twin island state, will benefit from what happens at the WTO.
“This job is a challenge because it is very technical. It’s all about tariffs, quotas and subsidies and all these kinds of technical subjects and of course it sets up the OECS countries against very powerful economic interests and very powerful countries,” he said.
Murdoch is one of Antigua and Barbuda’s longest-serving ambassadors and served as senior advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister.
He was first appointed as ambassador in 1997 and has served in various positions in government, including permanent secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs, permanent secretary in the ministry of trade, ambassador to Cuba, and OECS Commissioner.
The vacancy arose after the previous ambassador left on fairly short notice after he was recruited into the office of the WTO Director General.