Foreign Affairs Minister, Maxine McClean shares a light moment with the WTO candidate, Ambassador Roberto Azevedo, (third from left) while Brazil’s Ambassador to Barbados, Appio Claudio Acquarone and another official from Brazil look on. Minister with responsibility for Energy, Darcy Boyce and Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Sonja Welch were also part of the meeting.(C.Pitt/BGIS)

There is a commitment from Brazil’s World Trade Organization (WTO) candidate to the post of Director General, Ambassador Roberto Azevedo, to unclog the stalled trade-round negotiations, to build capacity within the body, and to do his best to make WTO processes more user friendly for smaller countries.

The envoy gave this undertaking recently during a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Maxine McClean, and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with responsibility for Energy, Investment and Telecommunications, Darcy Boyce, at Government Headquarters.

The envoy came to deliver a special message from the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, in relation to the Brazilian’s candidature.???? Ambassador Azevedo added: "My top priority is to unclog the system of negotiations and I believe that I can unlock it…I have been talking with some key players, and many interested countries, and I detected a common conviction that the negotiations must be re-started.?? At the end of the day, it is the only way to remove the dysfunctions in international trade that affects all of us."

The Ambassador also exchanged views with the two Ministers on how small countries within CARICOM should approach the challenging dispute settlement system under WTO.

In turn, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade described Brazil as a great friend to CARICOM and pointed out that the issues raised by Ambassador Azevedo, in relation to WTO’s agenda, were consistent with what Barbados hoped would be achieved.

"As developing countries we need to work with each other and Brazil has been a champion of other developing countries…You sit in places that we don’t and as a result, you are in a position to articulate the views of small countries like those of CARICOM effectively," the former senator underlined.

Meanwhile, Mr. Boyce praised the harmonious relationship between Brazil and Barbados and alluded to major ongoing work on important projects in the agricultural and other sectors.

Ambassador Azevedo was accompanied by the Brazilian Ambassador to Barbados, Appio Claudio Acquarone, and representatives of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry Cooperation Department and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation.

Relations between Barbados and Brazil have been strengthened over the years, in a variety of areas, including tourism, agriculture, trade and business.??

The selection of the WTO Director General is expected to be discussed by CARICOM countries at this week’s Inter-sessional Meeting in Haiti; while the choice for a new Director General must take place by May 31, to allow for the assumption of the new Director General on 1 September.

There are nine candidates vying for the post; however the Brazilian candidate is seen by many as a frontrunner.


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