GINA, GUYANA, Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Ambassadors have been at the forefront of promoting Guyana’s economic diplomacy in the international arena.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge, at the conclusion of the Heads of Mission Conference last week, pointed out the bulk of the work is being undertaken at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office and Other International Organisations at Geneva and the WTO, Ambassador Dr
John Ford, said that Guyana is actively involved in the Doha Development Agenda, which is the latest round of trade negotiations among WTO members.
“We feel that there is a great opportunity this year building up to the ministerial decisions negotiations in Buenos Aries in December,” Ambassador Ford said. Guyana is chairing the Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) partners going into those negotiations, Ambassador Ford pointed out.
Guyana is working closely with these groups to advance common interests in areas such as fisheries subsidies and commerce and services.
Meanwhile, in the European arena, Ambassador David Hales said that the country is lobbying on three fronts. There is on-going work on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which the ACP signed with the EU. “What is more immediate are the preparations that are taking place in the African Caribbean and Pacific group for the negotiations of a success agreement to the Cotonou Agreement which expires in 2020,” Ambassador Hales highlighted as the second issue.
The Cotonou Agreement was signed in June 2000 and was designed to establish a comprehensive partnership that enshrined development, political, economic and trade cooperation. The Agreement has been revised twice, in 2005 and 2010, with a clause to re-examine every five years.
“The ACP group, which Guyana is a member of, has taken the position that we would like to see a new all-encompassing legally binding agreement,” Ambassador Hales explained.
That Agreement seeks to secure “concessional financing under the European Development Fund (EDF) for all ACP countries without exception.”
Now that Guyana and CARICOM countries, with the exception of Haiti, are classified as middle income, Ambassador Hales said the trend is that aid or concessional finance is reduced or withheld.
“We continue to maintain the position that we want an agreement which would cover all ACP countries, all 79 of them,” Ambassador Hales explained.
Thirdly, Guyana is also among the countries examining what the implications of Brexit (the United Kingdom’s referendum to leave the EU) could have for countries in the Caribbean. These include any arrangement that the United Kingdom might make to ensure that there is no disruption of trade and those countries when it leaves the EU, Ambassador Hales said.
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