Put People at the Centre of Trade Negotiations – PM

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said any agreement to conclude the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations should give consideration to the needs and special circumstances of people in the developing world. She made the comment on Friday (Apr. 13) during talks with Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director General of the WTO who paid a courtesy call on her at Jamaica House.
The Prime Minister said that for too long people have been left behind and the time has come to place them at the centre of such negotiations. “Failure to do so could have serious consequences for both developing and developed countries,” she said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that despite significant advances there was still a high incidence of poverty in developing countries and called on those who make trade decisions to be mindful of the devastating consequences such decisions could have on the poor.
In his remarks, Mr. Lamy said trade is one of the means by which poverty could be reduced, provided negotiators are able to succeed in rebalancing the rules to make them more development friendly. He said the Caribbean could benefit from this rebalancing.
Mr. Lamy said there are pluses and minuses associated with and trade negotiation, and that developing countries could be entitled to some level of flexibility given their economic situation.
Present at the courtesy call were Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Hon. Anthony Hylton, Ambassador Gail Mathurin Jamaica’s representative to Belgium and the WTO and Mrs. Patricia Sinclair McCalla Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister.
The WTO Director General was in Jamaica for a meeting with CARICOM Trade Ministers in order to update them on the Doha Round of WTO talks.

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