In recognition of the impact of the pandemic on all facets of policy-making, OECS Senior Services Trade Officials attending the 1st Meeting of the Technical Working Group were advised to shape their Harmonisation agenda for Trade in Services on strategies that foster a spirit of “Caring for the Caribbean.”
Guest Speaker Dr. Wendy C Grenade, Senior Lecturer at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, encouraged Senior Officials to use decision-making approaches that respond to their own ‘philosophical understanding of what is the Caribbean and why it must be cared for’. According to Dr Grenade, such an approach responds to a collective responsibility to guard and protect the well-being of the most vulnerable in the OECS and the wider CARICOM region.
Reflecting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the OECS Services Regime, Senior Officials considered a number of issues including:
- Integrating Health and Economic Security into the Services Harmonisation Agenda;
- Mainstreaming Ecological and Environmental Sustainability Development;
- Establishing Sector Standards for Continuous Professional Development (CDP) and exploring new frontiers of knowledge;
- Integrating Strategic Trade Diplomacy into operations of Overseas Missions to pursue strategic alliances and purposive issue-based coalition-building with bi-lateral and multilateral partners.
At the conclusion of the Technical Working Group Meeting, Senior Services Trade Officials agreed that the priority areas of focus for the next fiscal year will consider the opportunities for transformation and use of technology to improve intra-OECS trade in Business Services and harnessing the engagement of OECS Youth to contribute to the value-added possibilities for trade in Business Services.
The 1st Technical Working Group Meeting took place via video conference and was chaired by Mrs Delores Francis of the OECS Commission.