An ambassador with several years experience in trading relations has expressed her disappointment with the non-completion of the Doha Round trade negotiations, despite eight years of talks among technocrats.

The CARICOM Secretariat’s Office of Trade Negotiations Director General, Gail Mathurin, made this assertion yesterday, during the official launch of the joint World Trade Organisation/Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Regional Seminar on Trade and Development for Caribbean Countries. The three-day symposium is being held at the Grand Barbados Beach Resort.

Noting that CARICOM was anxious for a speedy conclusion to the marathon dialogue, she said: "I must express some concerns at the level of pessimism with regard to the imminent completion of the round."

Ms. Mathurin further explained: "I suggest that this is a disappointment for us in the region because through our CARICOM representatives in Geneva, we have managed to ensure that our interests have been safeguarded in the draft texts which are on the table."

She also explored the nexus between Aid for Trade and the Doha development agenda and lauded developmental agencies such as the IDB, World Bank, World Trade Organisation and the Commonwealth Secretariat for "channelling" resources to support Aid for Trade Programmes.

Despite the allocation of these funds, Ms. Mathurin lamented: "There is now evidence that the Caribbean has lagged behind other regions in the world in assessing Aid for Trade resources and we need to look at ways of addressing that."

Underscoring the importance of trade to the promotion of development, the Ambassador warned that its effectiveness in this regard will not be fulfilled, unless the international community continued to place development at the forefront of the global trade agenda.

Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, acknowledged that trade and development shared a complex relationship.?? But, she pointed out that while trade was not a guaranteed route to economic growth for developing countries, the evidence suggested that trade, and openness to the global economy, played an important role in creating jobs and prosperity in many developing countries.

"For us in Barbados, making trade work for development, means carefully weighing the needs of our economy and tailoring our trade and economic policies to minimise our vulnerabilities and to maximise our potential strengths," she added.

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