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CARICOM trade officials discuss regional aid for trade strategy
Published on November 5, 2012 Email To Friend    Print Version

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states gathered to validate the draft of the Caribbean Community Regional Aid for Trade (AfT) Strategy ahead of the upcoming Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) meeting.

The Aid for Trade Initiative helps support developing countries, in particular the least developed, to build the trade capacity and infrastructure they need to benefit from trade opening. The World Trade Organization has taken the lead in the monitoring and evaluation of Aid for Trade and has partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and other development institutions to spearhead the initiative in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Fourteen Caribbean countries along with regional organizations participated in the Trade and Integration meeting of the Regional Policy Dialogue in Bridgetown, Barbados, on November 1-2, 2012. The meeting was organized in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat.

During the opening of the meeting, Permanent Secretary Bentley Gibbs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados stressed that the purpose of the dialogue is to “determine how to mobilize and access resources under the Aid for Trade platform. We have a credible Strategy which should provide the framework for identifying the grant and lending resources needed to support interventions.”

Overcoming the constraints of inadequate infrastructure, limited institutional capacity, concentrated export-oriented productive capacity and weak participation in regional and global value chains, are among the main issues highlighted by the AfT Strategy.

In order to address these constraints, the AfT Strategy proposes three main goals: upgrading key economic infrastructure; facilitating trade expansion and private sector development; and strengthening CARICOM and Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) integration. For each goal, a selected number of regional and national programs are identified with the aim of better matching development partners' Aid for Trade with the priorities of the region.

The AfT Strategy, the result of extensive stakeholder consultations, identifies priorities for trade-related technical and financial support, proposes remedial programs and projects, and details a regional and national monitoring and evaluation framework.

The Trade and Integration Network of the Regional Policy Dialogue provides a forum for discussion and knowledge sharing between the policymakers of Latin America and the Caribbean and the Bank in key topics related to regional and global trade and integration. It is coordinated by the Integration and Trade Sector of the Vice Presidency for Sectors and Knowledge of the IDB.
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