|Caricom, Canadian trade ministers meet in Trinidad
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
JAMAICA'S foreign affairs and foreign trade minister, KD Knight, and his fellow Caricom colleagues, are now in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, for a meeting with Canada's minister of trade, Pierre Pettigrew.
The meeting, convened on the initiative of Minister Knight, comes on the heels of a meeting of CARIFORUM trade ministers with the European Union's trade commissioner, Pascal Lamy, in Castries, St Lucia.
Multilateral negotiations, primarily the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), are high on the agenda of the one-day meeting.
Knight, who is also minister with responsibility for the FTAA, says this meeting with Pettigrew underscores the importance of forging common positions for the various negotiations, said a statement from the foreign ministry.
With respect to the FTAA, Knight said that while Caribbean Community (Caricom) officials have been working feverishly to comply with the agreed deadlines, he was mindful of setting unrealistic targets and accelerating the pace of negotiations to the detriment of smaller economies such as those in the Caribbean.
Said Knight: "Our negotiators have to ensure that we can live with the consequences of our offers in the Hemispheric process, especially since we are aware that our European partners are looking over our shoulders in light of the MFN clause in our ACP-EU Agreement. And as my colleague Hon Julian R Hunte, minister of foreign affairs of St Lucia, recently remarked at the opening of the ACP Ministerial Trade Council in St Lucia, we have to 'get it right' for if we get it wrong in the current round of negotiations, we could face steep declines in our GDP."