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.