Ministers in the Commonwealth Meet on Trade
The inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting took place yesterday and today at Lancaster House in London. In the meeting Belize was represented by CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture Jose Alpuche, High Commissioner for Belize to the United Kingdom, Perla Perdomo and Ambassador for Belize to the European Union. The objective of the meeting was to reaffirm the commitment of Commonwealth member countries to a “transparent free and fair multilateral trading system,” and to define an ambitious Commonwealth led “Agenda for Growth” to promote trade, investment and job creation in member countries. It is expected that this will support the target of increasing intra-Commonwealth trade to US$1 trillion by 2020. The recommendation to hold the Meeting was an outcome of the Commonwealth Business Forum in Malta in November 2015. All countries are currently seeking to establish new trading relationships at a time of stagnating global trade. While in London, CEO Alpuche also had the opportunity to meet with several influential Members of Parliament to lobby for Belize’s interests as it pertains to trade with the United Kingdom after it leaves the European Union. This included a meeting with MP Steve Baker, member of the Treasury Select Committee and Christopher Howarth, Senior Researcher European Research Group of MP’s. Alpuche also met with James Cleverly, member of the International Trade Select Committee. Additionally, meetings were held with Right Hon. Sir Desmond Swayne, member of the International Development Committee and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown who is Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Trade, as well as Chairman of the British Caribbean All Party Parliamentary Group.