Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands, speaking at the 4th Trade Policy Review at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this week. (Photo credit: WTO Secretariat)
At the just concluded World Trade Organisation (WTO) Fourth Trade Policy Review (TPR) for Barbados, members of the WTO commended Barbados for its trade policies and economic programmes.
Leading Barbados’ delegation at the TPR held in Geneva, Switzerland from October 25 to 27, was Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands.
Minister Husbands, in delivering her opening statement, emphasised that Barbados was committed to improving the quality of national processes on trade issues and trade-related policies.
“It has been a long road and we met challenges along the way. Challenges which are synonymous with our small size, such as limited human and financial resources, confronted us on this journey,” Ms. Husbands noted.
The Minister further committed to address Barbados’ outstanding notifications by the end of the first quarter of 2023 and to continue to engage extensively in supporting the multilateral trading system.
The TPR mechanism is an objective, independent evaluation of the trade and economic situation of individual members and acts as a forum where trade policies can be discussed, information sought and concerns expressed. The basis for the review is a report prepared by the WTO Secretariat and a report led by the Government of Barbados. These can be freely accessed on the WTO website.
The Trade Policy Review occurred in the context of Barbados’ response to the crises of COVID-19, climate change and the increasing cost of living. Members generally commended Barbados for its resilience in the face of these multiple crises and for the economic rebound seen since 2020.
Specific recognition was given to Barbados’ leadership on climate change and debt issues, specifically for small island states and other small, vulnerable economies; and its hosting of UNCTAD 15 and leadership role at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference.
Members highlighted Barbados’ 25 by 25 policy, its economic transformation initiatives such as Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) and Barbados Employment and Sustainable Transformation (BEST) and the continuing focus on agriculture investment and diversification as a means to reduce the import basket and address food security issues.
A number of members requested that Barbados address its outstanding WTO notifications and called on the country to continue to actively engage in WTO processes around investment facilitation, e-commerce, sustainability and gender and trade.
While in Geneva, Minister Husbands met with the WTO Director General, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who commended Barbados’ leadership in the WTO and called on the country to consider being one of the early round of countries to deposit its instrument of accession for the fisheries subsidies agreement.
She also paid a courtesy call on United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretary-General, Rebeca Grynspan, where the discussion focused on building a concrete pathway for small states following the UNCTAD 15.
Minister Husbands was accompanied by Director of Foreign Trade, Kay Sealy; National Coordinator for UNCTAD, Carlos Wharton; Chargé d’Affaires in the Permanent Mission of Barbados to the WTO, Ricardo Kellman; First Secretaries in the Permanent Mission of Barbados to the WTO, Shani Griffith-Jack and Dwaine Inniss; and Ambassador-designate of Barbados to the WTO, Matthew Wilson.
Author: Government of Barbados