Prime Minister, David Thompson
Over the next three days at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Barbados is expected to engage in bilateral talks with several countries, including Canada and Panama.
Word of this has come from Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine Mcclean, who, along with Prime Minister David Thompson, is expected to spearhead the talks.
According to Ms. McClean, the main objective of the meetings would be to “firm up previous arrangements, to explore new opportunities for joint collaboration for bilateral initiatives, and generally assess what we have been able to work on so far.”
She noted that the offshore financial services sector would be one of the major talking points during the meeting with Canada, since that country had been one of Barbados’ primary business partners in the sector, and “that is an area in which we would want to further develop relations”.
The Foreign Affairs Minister also mentioned that the Canada/Caricom negotiations would be high on the agenda. “We are in the preliminary stages of preparing for a Canada/Caricom negotiation and that then would shape future relations going forward, so, that is a priority, getting those negotiations started,” she explained.
She added that they would also be some focus on tourism, as Canada had been a “good neighbour” and a “critical market” in terms of this sector, which Barbados was “looking to energise”.
With respect to Panama, Ms. McClean listed joint areas for economic projects, and double taxation treaty arrangements as two areas that would be discussed during that particular meeting. “We also need to hear from Panama what kinds of opportunities they are seeking to explore, so I believe the negotiations will be open to as wide an area as possible for sharing of resources, technical and otherwise,” the Minister stressed.
Barbados is also expected to hold talks with Colombia and Mexico before the Summit ends on April 19.