Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Roberto Azevedo, paid an official visit to Barbados this week. The Director General’s visit to Barbados comes as part of his official visit to the Caribbean. Earlier this week the Director General visited Jamaica where he met with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and other senior government representatives, and gave a speech at the University of the West Indies’ Mona Campus.
According to Barbados’ Government Information Service, Mr. Azevedo met with Barbados’ Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon Freundel Stuart and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Hon Senator Maxine McClean.
Barbados has been a strong and vocal supporter of the multilateral trade process. Barbados was a founding member of the WTO and has been a party to the GATT since 1967. The chairperson’s statement on Barbados’ trade policy review in January last year noted, inter alia, that members “praised Barbados’ strong support for the multilateral trading system and the role it has played in the DDA negotiations” and its open and liberal investment and trade regime. Barbados has played a leading role in advocating for the interests of Small Vulnerable Economies (SVEs) and currently chairs the Africa, Caribbean & Pacific (ACP) group in the WTO.
According to a report by Barbados’ Nation News, Minister McClean and Director General Azevedo held a joint press conference at the headquarters of her ministry. During this press conference, Minister McClean is reported to have emphasised the challenges faced by small states like Barbados in the multilateral trading system and reiterated the need for a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round.
The future of the Doha Round has been left undecided at the WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya last December. In the Nairobi Declaration, WTO members unprecedentedly stated their disagreement on whether Doha should be ended or continued.
Details on Director General Azevedo’s official visit to Barbados may be obtained from the official website of the Barbados Government Information Service here.
Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B. is a trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.