Basseterre, St. Kitts, June5, 2023 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs): In their first in-person meeting since the Covid-19 pandemic, Trade Ministers from across the Commonwealth are meeting from June 5-6 at Marlborough House in London. Their meeting follows closely on the meeting of the Senior Trade Officials that took place on June 3- 4. The discussions were a follow-up to the virtual meeting held in January this year. The meeting covered topics important to all member states but had particular relevance for developing countries, SIDS and SVEs. They focused on bridging the digital divide and digital infrastructure, climate change, fish subsidies, trade and investment, supporting the multilateral trading system, and inclusive and sustainable trade.
In his intervention, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Foreign Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, who also holds the Trade portfolio, thanked the Secretary-General and congratulated the Commonwealth Secretariat for its technical assistance in trade facilitation and capacity building for Saint Kitts and Nevis. He called on the Secretariat and larger countries to support small states in addressing the trade imbalances and in bridging the digital divide as a means of encouraging investment and greater intra-Commonwealth trade.
The Trade Minister emphasised the importance for small states to be able to access appropriate levels of finance for development. He further stressed the imperative of adopting an approach that prioritises the use of a multidimensional vulnerability index in any meaningful discourse on trade, especially in light of challenges such as natural disasters, climate change, structural vulnerabilities of small states and the continued use of GDP per capita as a criterion for assessing a country’s eligibility to access concessionary financing.
Dr Douglas is accompanied by St. Kitts and Nevis’ High Commissioner to the United Kingdom H.E. Dr. Kevin Isaac and Mr Kevin Arthurton, Project/Research Officer in the Ministry of International Trade et al.