OECS Technical Working Group to meet in Saint Lucia on CARICOM – Canada Negotiations

CASTRIES, St. Lucia – The finalisation of a Common OECS Services Offer will top the agenda of a meeting of Senior Trade Officials from independent OECS Member States this week. The meeting from October 20 – 21, 2010 has been strategically arranged ahead of the third round of negotiations on a CARICOM-Canada Trade and Development Agreement.

Delores Francis, Programme Officer at the OECS Trade Policy Unit says Senior Trade experts will be further informed on matters regarding bilateral trade negotiations and business opportunities through the Caricom-Canada Trade relations: “OECS Secretariat Senior Trade Officials will examine a Draft Harmonised Services Schedule of Commitments prepared by the Trade Policy Unit, to guide countries participation in bilateral trade negotiations, which took account of commitments made in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The EPA has set the standard and expectations for future negotiations as well as countries market access interests in Canada and development needs.”

The meeting is being convened by the OECS Secretariat in collaboration with the Hub and Spokes Project and will be held at the Coco Resorts Hotel in Saint Lucia.

Francis says in the context of an OECS Economic Union it is important for countries to harmonise the market access offers that they make to third countries for goods and services in order to increase market size and attract investment. The OECS offer will be incorporated into CARICOM’s services offer to Canada.

The Draft OECS Harmonised Services Schedule of Commitments was prepared in July 2009 with financial assistance from the OECS Hub and Spokes Project.

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