The Ambassador and the Executive Director discussed several areas of recent cooperation between the OECS and the ITC, as well as several areas earmarked for future collaboration.
In terms of recent collaboration, the Ambassador and Executive Director recalled the Caribbean Regional Coconut Development Project - a project which aims to increase the productivity and profitability of the coconut crop by creating added value,and building inclusive value chains and stronger market linkages. Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were direct beneficiaries.
Both parties also recalled joint work in the areas of food safety and the development of national export strategies for select OECS Member States. Overall, these projects impacted positively on rural livelihoods, including for women; promoted economic diversification; and built economic and social resilience in the OECS.
Regarding areas of future work, of immediate priority is the renewal of the OECS-ITC Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Areas of cooperation likely to emerge from the MOU include:
Development of protocols for facilitating and regulating intra-OECS trade;
Firm-level competitiveness, particularly with a gendered dimension;
Framework for business market intelligence;
Facilitating/promoting inter-sectoral linkages;
Mainstreaming of green business initiatives and practices and;
Strengthening of trade and investment support institutions.
Ambassador Murdoch and Ms. Coke-Hamilton pledged to continue and strengthen the relationship between the OECS and the ITC.