Trade Policy Officials welcome help from the OECS Secretariat in preparing them for High Level Talks

Virgina Paul

OECS Secretariat – Castries, St. Lucia (February 6th, 2010): Trade Policy stakeholders have expressed gratitude to the OECS Secretariat for facilitating their successful participation at critical regional meetings such as the CARICOM Council for Trade & Economic Development (COTED).

The COTED is comprised of Trade Ministers who deal with the operation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, External Economic and Trade Relations, trade in goods and services, standards and other related matters.

The OECS Secretariat’s Trade Policy Unit in collaboration with the OECS Mission in Geneva has provided technical support to participants in the COTED meeting scheduled for February 4th to 9th in Guyana. In addition, the OECS Secretariat’s Trade Policy Unit hosted a teleconference with trade officials in Member States where issues regarding the COTED meeting were discussed.

Virgina Paul who heads the OECS Trade Policy Unit says Member States describe the Secretariat’s assistance to their attendance at COTED and other high level meetings as meaningful: “Generally they have found it very useful. It has helped in their participation because in many cases you find that there is a turn over of staff in Ministries and people need to be provided with some background. They may not always have all the information at hand. That’s where we come in and provide that information. For example in a Member State where the Director of Trade may be new, the information received from us will assist that person’s participation in the meeting.”

The OECS Trade Policy Unit prepared a briefing document for participating OECS delegations at the COTED talks, particularly on issues related to negotiations in the WTO, bananas and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. The document is used to prepare their national brief for that meeting and guides officials on matters relating to the agenda.

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