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JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. the Hon. Ronald Robinson departed the island yesterday afternoon (Monday) for Brussels where he will lead Jamaica’s delegation to an African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Ministerial meeting concerning the European Union (EU)/ACP Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations.
Speaking before his departure from the Norman Manley International Airport, the Minister said the meeting was very important. As part of the CARIFORUM team, he would be striving to ensure that the interests of the Caribbean were safeguarded, particularly as they related to key commodities such as sugar and bananas.
Dr. Robinson will also meet with Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Mr. Pascal Lamy to exchange views on the ongoing negotiations in the Doha Development Round.
The ACP Ministerial meeting is taking place as EPA negotiations are approaching the 31st of December deadline. The EPA envisions a new reciprocal Free Trade development-oriented regime which is scheduled to begin 1st of January 2008.
The purpose of the meeting, which will be held on Thursday and Friday, is to assess the state of negotiations in the various ACP regions and to address the main issues that are to be resolved to ensure the smooth conclusion of the negotiations. The five other ACP negotiating regions are: Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Pacific Forum( PF), West African Economic Community (ECOWAS); and the Central African Economic Community (CEMAG).
The ACP Ministers will also discuss WTO issues, including an update on the progress of the negotiations on the Doha Work Programme which will be presented by the Coordinator of the ACP group in Geneva, H.E. Gail Mathurin, Jamaica’s Ambassador to the WTO. The Ministers are expected to determine a common position for the promotion of their interests at the WTO. The Ministerial meeting will be preceded by a senior officials meeting which begins today (Tuesday).
Minister Robinson is expected to return on the weekend.