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Jul 14, 2004

Belize presents trade policy to W.T.O

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The delegation was larger than any put together for talks with Guatemala…but then again the stakes are perhaps just as high. The subject was trade and the venue was Geneva, where an eleven-member group travelled to plead the nation’s case for a fair deal to the World Trade Organization. According to a government release, Minister of Foreign Trade Eamon Courtenay opened Belize’s presentation by reaffirming his country’s determination to liberalize the economy in a way best suited to the national interest. He then explained to the Trade Policy Review Board that it is Belize’s view that any new global trade regime cannot serve only the interests of the rich, stating…

“In the current global political environment, we believe greater integration into the international economy can assist us to reach our growth potential, broaden our economic base, while also ensuring that all segments of the population benefit from increased economic welfare. We therefore underscore the principle that any integration agreement (between asymmetric parties) must take due account of the special needs of developing countries and the vulnerabilities endemic to small developing states.”

Delegates responded to a number of questions from Board members such as the United States, European Union, Canada, Japan, and Taiwan. Bilateral meetings were also held with the W.T.O.’s Director General as well as representatives of France with whom they discussed the new W.T.O. compliant arrangement for Bananas. Members of the delegation in addition to the minister were Jose Alpuche, Godwin Hulse, Gilly Canton, Christine Vellos, Orla Kantun, Richard Reid, Omar Ortiz, Dennis Jones, Jose Castellanos and Kathy-Ann Brown of the Commonwealth Secretariat. Before anyone, gets too steamed up about the cost of the trip it should be noted that our attendance was facilitated by the European Union.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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