Authorities from regional economic blocs met with experts on international trade policy to debate the trade-related challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the Caribbean.

Representatives from the Commonwealth, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) met in St. Lucia on June 26 and 27, 2017, to discuss current international and regional circumstances affecting trade in the Caribbean and to agree on a regional action strategy.

The main issues covered were related to growth and development in the Caribbean; connectivity in global value chains; and regional economic integration. The problems affecting the regional economy that were discussed included the downturn in global trade and the implications of Brexit. There was also mention of the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference, which was seen as an opportunity to raise awareness about these difficulties and discuss them further.

The head of the Trade Policy Unit at the OECS Commission, Virginia Paul, welcomed the opportunity for in-depth dialogue with international and regional trade policy experts.

Likewise, Bradley Felix, minister for commerce, industry, and investment in St. Lucia, highlighted the importance of strengthening integration in the region and embarking on joint actions that show the Caribbean as a cohesive unit on the global stage.