Greene heads regional team to discuss trade issues at WTO

Minister Chet Greene (second from left)
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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Chet Greene led a delegation from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to attend sessions at the World Trade Organizations (WTO) in Geneva last week.

According to a release, the meetings comprised the Trade Policy Review (TPR) of the OECS member states, an exercise which must be undertaken by all WTO members.

“The OECS undertook the review of their trade policies jointly because of their status as an economic union,” the release said.

“Four of the six independent OECS states sent delegations to Geneva for the TPR, including two led by ministers (Minister Greene and Minister Keisal Peters of St Vincent and the Grenadines) and one by an ambassador.

“Minister Greene, in his capacity as current chair of the OECS Ministerial Council (Trade), led the combined delegation and spoke on behalf of the group,” the release said.

A team of senior trade officials from the OECS Commission Secretariat also participated in the sessions, led by the OECS Director-General Dr Didacus Jules. Also forming part of the combined OECS delegation were Ambassador Colin Murdoch, head of the OECS mission in Geneva, and Joel Richards, trade counsellor at the mission.

Under the TPR exercise, the OECS presented its trade policies to the assembled WTO members and these policies were then examined by a discussant and subject to comment by WTO members, who were also entitled to submit questions which OECS was required to answer.

On this occasion, the assigned discussant was Ambassador Nadia Theodore of Canada who gave a generally positive assessment of OECS trade and economic policies.

In his statement to the WTO membership Minister Greene said, “Some of the main objectives of the OECS economic union are economic growth, development and international competitiveness by the convergence and coordination of the economic policies of OECS member states … essentially our vulnerabilities, the challenges associated with our small size, as well as those emanating from the uncertainty and turbulence that characterise the external environment, have framed our macroeconomic performance and outlook.

“It is out of these experiences spanning several decades that we decided to pursue a deeper form of regional integration through the establishment of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) in 2011.”

Over two dozen delegations took the floor in response, largely complimentary of the OECS trade policies and of the role played by the OECS mission to the WTO in Geneva. More than 200 written detailed questions were submitted, to which the OECS trade officials submitted written responses.

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