Visit to Jamaica by Ambassador Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, 17th–19th January 2016

Ambassador Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), will pay an official visit to Jamaica, 17th–19th January 2016, at the invitation of the Government of Jamaica.

Ambassador Azevêdo’s visit to Jamaica is part of an initiative to visit a number of CARICOM countries, particularly those countries which have been active participants in the overall work programme of the WTO.  His visit is taking place just weeks after the conclusion of the 10th Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC10), which was convened 15th–19th December 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Jamaica, in its capacity as Chair of the CARICOM Group in the WTO, a position held throughout 2015, worked closely with other WTO Members to secure negotiated outcomes in key areas of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations launched in 2001.  Senator the Honourable Arnold J. Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, played the role in Nairobi of Facilitator of the Rules Negotiating Group, which is chaired by Jamaica at the WTO in Geneva.

During his visit, Ambassador Azevêdo will meet with Government officials and key stakeholders in the private sector and civil society, including academia, to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern, particularly as they relate to Jamaica’s participation in the multilateral trading system and the role of the WTO in facilitating Jamaica’s further integration into a continuously evolving global economy. The timing of his visit will also allow for further internal reflection on the way forward for the WTO after MC10, with particular regard to safeguarding the interests of Jamaica and other small developing countries.

His scheduled engagements include meetings with the Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller; Senator the Honourable Arnold J. Nicholson QC, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and other key Government Ministers, as well as representatives of the private sector organizations in Jamaica. He will also meet with the members of the Task Force on Trade Facilitation, the body established to oversee Jamaica’s implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation once it enters into force. The WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation is the first multilateral agreement that has emerged from the Doha Round of negotiations. The Director-General will also participate in a colloquium to be held at the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies.

He departs Jamaica on the afternoon of 19th January, continuing his visit to the Caribbean sub-region.

A Brazilian national, Ambassador Azevêdo is the sixth Director-General of the WTO, the body responsible for regulating trade relations among its 162 Members. Jamaica is a founding Member of the WTO, which was established in 1995.  The WTO is based in Geneva, Switzerland.