Jamaica will give its full support to the renewed efforts to conclude the Doha Development Round in 2011 – says Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, in discussions with Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), on Wednesday, January 19.
The Foreign Minister, along with representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, Industry, Investment and Commerce, Finance and the Public Service and the Bank of Jamaica are participating in the Third Trade Policy Review (TPR) of Jamaica, under the auspices of the WTO, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The TPR process allows individual WTO members to highlight aspects of their macro-economic and trade policies and to respond to questions from other members in relation to their experiences with the multilateral trading system and the status of their conformity with their trade obligations.
In his talks with Mr. Lamy, Dr. Baugh underscored Jamaica’s support for the renewed thrust by the WTO to conclude the Round this year. He also reiterated the calls by the G-20 group of countries and others to “intensify and expand” the protracted negotiations which began in 2001 in Doha, Qatar.
Similarly, trade experts project that a non-conclusion of the Round this year, will result in a long period of uncertainty in the global trading system, with further delays in establishing trade rules in agriculture, industrial goods and services, and other areas.
It is the belief of trade practitioners that 2011 represents a narrow window of opportunity to agree on a comprehensive trade deal.
While expressing support for the Doha process, Dr. Baugh emphasised that the Round must deliver on its mandate to enhance productive capacity at the national level and generate increased growth and development for small, vulnerable economies and other developing and least developed countries.
“For the Round to be considered a success, it must adequately address the concerns of small, vulnerable economies such as Jamaica,” he said.
On this matter, Dr. Baugh expressed appreciation to DG Lamy for his keen interest in the Caribbean and for his support of trade initiatives, including calls for increased capacity building and economic transformation, through the Aid for Trade mechanism.
Jamaica and other Caribbean countries are currently engaged in the development of National Aid for Trade Strategies, designed to highlight trade priorities and provide a basis for sustainable partnerships between donors and beneficiaries of trade support.
For his part, DG Lamy commended Jamaica for its active role in the WTO process and for its long tradition of advocacy on behalf of developing countries. He also acknowledged that the latest round of negotiations was very complex and dynamic and much will depend on the willingness of WTO member states to translate their political commitments into concrete action.
Dr. Baugh and DG Lamy also exchanged views on the progress towards Caribbean regional integration and the vital role being played by trade cooperation in the overall process.
Issued by: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade