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Saint Lucia prepares for joint ACP/EU Trade Commitee Meeting

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Monday, February 24, 2003 - Preparations continue for Saint Lucia’s hosting of the ACP-EU Joint Ministerial Trade Committee Meeting scheduled for February 27 – March 1, 2003 at the Sandals Grande Resort and Spa.

Senior Foreign Service Officer and Head of the Ministry’s Trade and Legal Division, Elma Jean Isaac, says the meeting being co-ordinated by the Ministry of External Affairs and International Trade will bring together a host of high level officials from around the globe who will dialogue on a number of issues.

According to Isaac, “The mandate of that joint committee the MTC as it has been dubbed, is essentially to keep track of what is happening in international trade, follow those developments and make recommendations as to what can happen to all of the countries both ACP and EU in terms of maintaining their standards in international trade, while at the same time trying to preserve whatever benefits they are able to derive from international trade.”

The three-day meeting is expected to be attended by representatives from all eighteen African, Caribbean and Pacific member countries along with fourteen European Union countries. Isaac says critical talks with also be held with the EU’s Trade Commissioner, Mr. Pascal Lamy, who will hold discussions with representatives of the regional private sector and CARICOM ministers.

Commissioner Lamy’s presence here cannot be overstated she indicated. “He is essentially the one who carries the trade negotiations on the part of the EU. Mr. Lamy has for years been the most visible figure on the EU’s negotiating team and is very experienced and knowledgeable. The Commissioner was critical in shaping the present agreement which succeeded the Lome’ Conventions and he will also be among those spearheading the EU’s move into the new economic partnership agreements which are to come out of these negotiations. Therefore his presence in Saint Lucia for the three-day meeting due to get underway in a mater of days is critical,” said Miss Isaac.

Other issues down on the agenda include trade liberalization, and special and differential treatment for small island states.

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