Castries Saint. Lucia, June 9, 2010, Dominica’s Director of Trade Eisenhower Douglas says the OECS Trade Negotiations Group (TNG) has a commendable spirit of integration through the sharing of best practices. His comments are part of his review of the 14th meeting of the OECS TNG from May 26-27th 2010: “It provided an opportunity for my colleagues in the OECS Member States to exchange ideas. All the divisions of trade in the OECS were actually represented. So it’s a useful forum to exchange ideas and be brought up to date on how your colleagues in the departments of trade throughout the OECS are dealing with their day to day issues.”
Dr. Douglas, who also currently chairs the OECS TNG wants OECS Governments to help trade policy to play a more integral role in national development policy because decisions recommended by the TNG can help to improve the lives of people in the OECS. The OECS TNG comprises representatives from the public and private sector of Member States: “We have to look further at how do we get Trade Policy to be part and parcel of Development Policy because it’s through development policy that you get the economic growth. It will also help to improve the standard of living among the people of the OECS; so how do you mainstream that is at the crux of it.”
Speaking with the OECS News-Link (www.oecs.org) Dr. Douglas added that Trade Policy programmes have also developed the human resource potential at departments of Trade throughout the OECS. To this end, he commended the Hubs and Spokes project for its contribution to developing the skills of staff members at his department in Dominica: “It has strengthened our department in the area of capacity building in terms of the technical work being done in trade. That will have implications for improving the employment opportunities in the division of trade itself.”
The 14th OECS TNG meeting conducted by the OECS Secretariat’s Trade Policy Unit considered matters such as the ongoing CARICOM-Canada negotiations, the WTO negotiations, implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Trade Facilitation initiatives, the operation of the trade regime in the OECS Economic Union and reports from trade capacity building projects such as the Hubs and Spokes Project, CSME Trade and Competitiveness Project and the IDB Trade Capacity Building Programme.
The chairman of the OECS Trade Negotiations Group is also suggesting that the OECS TNG meets more frequently and is hoping for another round of talks before year end, particularly as the OECS moves towards an Economic Union set for signing by OECS Heads of Government in mid June 2010.
The recent 14th meeting of the OECS Trade Negotiations Group also welcomed support from the Office of Trade Negotiations to convene national consultations on CARICOM-Canada negotiations and endorsed activities to implement the EPA.