Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Business, The Hon. Christopher

Barbados’ trade policy from 2002 to 2007 will come under the microscope at a meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to be held from September 17 to 19 in Geneva, Switzerland.

As part of the transparency process of the WTO, its members are required to undergo a periodic assessment of the way government operates and the implications of such governance for its trade and economic policy measures.

For developing countries like Barbados, Trade Policy Reviews (TPR) are undertaken every five years. The organisation will consider two reports in assessing Barbados. One report contains the WTO Secretariat’s factual report and an assessment of Barbados’ governance, particularly as it relates to trade and economic policies and its obligations to the WTO. The other, which is the national report, provides the context with which its trade and economic policies were pursued.

Barbados last completed a review in July 2002. As a small open economy, the country has pursued a development strategy which recognises our vulnerable position in the multilateral trading arena, but at the same time seeks to ensure sustainable growth and development for the future.

In its current report to the WTO, Barbados has indicated that its major priorities for the future include the development of its human resources; improving health care and combating lifestyle health issues, including HIV and AIDS; revitalising the productive sector through strategies such as fostering public and private sector partnerships; restructuring and transforming the sugar cane industry; and implementing aggressive policies to ensure that Barbados’ oil import bill is reduced.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Business, Christopher Sinckler, will lead the delegation which includes Permanent Secretary with responsibility for matters pertaining to foreign trade and international business, Samuel Chandler; Director of Trade, Dr. Louis Woodroffe; and Senior Economist, Mr. Agard Evans. 

WTO members use both these reports as official sources for determining the extent to which the country under review is discharging its WTO obligations.

With the conclusion of the WTO assessment of Barbados, a final report is expected to be made public.

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