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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

This country is set to host one of the most important conferences on the 2012 calendar, when the Second CARICOM-Mexico Summit comes to Barbados, next Monday, May 21, at the Hilton Barbados. It will be preceded by a Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs on Sunday, May 20.

Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderon, is expected to lead a high-powered delegation to the one-day summit, which will also bring together regional Heads from the 15 CARICOM nations.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, President Calderon and the current Chairman of CARICOM, President Desir?? Bouterse, of Suriname, are expected to address the opening ceremony, which is scheduled to take place on Monday at 10:00 a.m. at the Hilton Hotel.

CARICOM leaders are also expected to discuss a number of pressing issues, including tourism, trade and investment and technical cooperation. They will also deliberate how to exchange ideas on the Inter-American system; and the identification of means by which CARICOM and Mexico could collaborate in hemispheric multilateral fora such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the recently constituted Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Another key agenda item will be next month’s United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) Rio+20 in Brazil.

Convening the summit is representative of Mexico’s ongoing commitment to fostering South-South cooperation and hemispheric collaboration.
Mexico assumed the Presidency of the Group of 20 (G20) earlier this year and will also take the opportunity to brief CARICOM Heads of Government on its strategic vision for the G20, as part of its overall goal to establish a forum in which open and constructive dialogue may be facilitated.

Barbados and its CARICOM partners have identified Mexico as one of the Latin American states with which closer relations should be encouraged as a means of increasing economic activity.

Mexico has the second largest economy in Latin America and is a major oil producer and exporter. It has been listed as an emerging market, which, along with Britain, Russia, India and China (countries of the BRICS) and Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey and Argentina (VISTA groups), has the potential to be ranked among the world’s largest economies in the next three decades. Mexico is considered to have an excellent outlook for investment and future economic growth.

It is envisaged that ongoing dialogue fostered by regional meetings with other countries could assist CARICOM in developing as a unified entity, with a shared regional foreign policy strategy.

Monday’s summit will be a precursor to the 42nd General Assembly of the OAS.

At the first CARICOM- Mexico Summit in February 2010, Heads examined such issues as: support for Haiti in the aftermath of the January 12 earthquake; boosting trade and growth across the region; protecting and developing tourism; boosting regional security, and tackling climate change.

cathy.lashley@barbados.gov.bb

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