Commonwealth consults Caribbean on trade issues

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DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Government officials and trade experts in the Caribbean are discussing bridging the technological gap in trade, among other trade issues, as part of a two-day consultation hosted by The Commonwealth.

Key on the Agenda is the 2018 Commonwealth Trade Review findings. The meeting is being held at the Marriott Hotel. Head of International Trade Policy at the Commonwealth, Teddy Soobramanien said there are recommendations in the document relevant to the Caribbean.

“There inevitably exists a technological gap between countries which need to be addressed. But our countries have to gear up quickly at the risk of being marginalised in this rapidly moving process. We at least, The Commonwealth and our partners, trying to bridge this information gap by having such workshops and exchanges,” Soobramanien said.

The Commonwealth hosted the discussion in collaboration with CARICOM and the Organisation of the Francophonie OIF).

Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, noted the deliberations are relevant given the importance of international trade as a tool for development, particularly for small states.

“Our small domestic markets do not allow companies to grow beyond a certain level, and especially in manufacturing, that will make it viable to invest in technology, so we need to export in order to grow.”

Minister Gaskin noted the government’s Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) seeks to achieve development through sound fiscal and monitory policy, green and inclusive economic diversity, sustainable management of natural resources, transitioning to renewable energy, resilient infrastructure, good governance and through trade investment and international cooperation.

“Our long-term trade and investment strategies will seek to increase access to international markets while encouraging investment in export industries,” Minister Gaskin said.

Over the next two days, the discussion will explore how to harness digital trade opportunities, e-commerce and improving small medium enterprises access to markets among other trade issues.

Tiffny Rhodius.

Images by Kawise Wishart.