OECS High-level workshop on WTO Agricultural negotiations
OECS Media Release
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 — The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, will be hosting a High level Virtual Workshop on World Trade Organization (WTO) Agriculture negotiations on 19th -20th May, 2021.
The Workshop will bring together Senior Trade and Agriculture Officials from OECS Member States, along with representatives of the WTO Secretariat, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to address issues currently being discussed at the WTO as they relate to trade in agriculture.
WTO Member States are currently negotiating in areas related to market access and subsidies applied by WTO Member States. Some of these issues are likely to be addressed by Ministers at the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) scheduled for November-December 2021.
According to Jacqueline Emmanuel Flood, Director, Economic Affairs and Regional Integration, OECS Commission
“Agriculture continues to play a vital role in the economies and livelihoods of OECS Member States, contributing approximately 8.5% towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the sub-region. However, this sector is subjected to high levels of volatility and remains sensitive to fluctuations in world market conditions. As a result, transforming Agriculture in the Eastern Caribbean has become a priority for OECS Member States. Towards this end, the OECS Commission maintains a high interest in ensuring that any outcome to the current negotiations benefit the agriculture sector in our Member States.”
Minister for Agriculture in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Saboto Ceasar, will be delivering remarks, bringing invaluable perspectives from the ongoing disaster in his country.
"In the wake of the devastation caused by the eruptions at La Soufrière, the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is committed to building back a stronger, more resilient agriculture sector. Agriculture is not only about income. It is about the livelihoods of our people. We need to ensure that the outcomes of negotiations in international fora take full account of the needs of our farmers and the desire of OECS Governments to provide the support and assistance required by our farmers to strengthen the sector in the years to come."
The workshop will update Member States on the status of the WTO Agriculture Negotiations and establish a clear link between possible outcomes at the WTO Ministerial Conference and the policy objectives of Member States in the agriculture sector.
The Workshop also marks the Commission’s ongoing commitment to build the technical capacity of Member States in collaboration with its international development partners. These capacity-building exercises will continue to strengthen the ability of Member States to engage in important multilateral trade and economic negotiations.