Caribbean and Pacific Island Countries Also Learn from CUTS Research in Africa

Geneva, May 06, 2010

"Caribbean countries have strived to improve the inclusiveness of trade policy making process and the constraints are quite similar to those pointed out in CUTS research on five African countries" said H.E. Dr. Patrick Gomes, Ambassador of Guyana to the WTO. The view was widely shared by several participants who attended a session organized by CUTS Geneva Resource Centre at the WTO for the visiting representatives of countries without any permanent presence in Geneva.

CUTS presented research findings of its "Fostering Equity and Accountability in the Trading System" project. This research examined inclusivity in trade policy making processes in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The lessons and messages of this research can be equally helpful for Caribbean and Pacific Island countries. These small countries with limited resources can consider best practices from others to improve the inclusiveness of their trade policy making processes.

Limited technical, human, financial and institutional resources were a recurring theme in the presentations by panelists as well as interventions from the floor. "One major challenge Kenya faces in trade policy making is limited trained human resources that is being addressed by establishing a National Negotiating Structure" said Mr. Elijah B. Manyara, Principal Counselor at Kenya Mission in Geneva.

Responding to these concerns, Mrs. Jan Bailey from the New Zealand Mission presented main features of its trade related development assistance to Pacific Island countries. A significant part of this assistance is related to trade policy.

Many took part in the ensuing discussion. They requested CUTS to undertake similar research in other countries, including French speaking developing countries. They also appreciated the work being undertaken by CUTS on other issues particularly related to consumer rights.