|Thursday, 3 July 2003|
by Sumith Kadawathage in London
Trade Minister Ravi Karunanayake will meet a large number of Trade Ministers, senior policy makers and trade executives of leading companies from the Commonwealth and beyond, representatives from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at the Commonwealth Trade Forum in London on July 7 and 8, 2003. The Commonwealth Trade Forum represents a unique endeavour to bring together the trade policy to community within the Commonwealth, with leading figures of trade and industry from around the Commonwealth, to discuss trade issues in the contest of the WTO Ministerial scheduled for Cancun in September 2003.
The forum expects the participation of Commonwealth Minister of trade, Chairman and Chief Executives of leading companies, representatives from the WTO and international agencies, business organisations, trade experts and academies.
While the forum will provide an occasion to discuss and explore trade policy issues of interests and concern to its membership, it also seeks to help, built and develop networks between countries and business associations that cross developed/developing country divide, that may of use to members in furthering their negotiating strategies.
The organisers of The Forum, the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) believes that the Commonwealth as a whole process has a wide range of experience and interest that can work constructively towards the attainment of the development objectives set out in the Doha agenda.
As policy dimension the conference will endeavour to highlight the importance of the multilateral process particularly for developing countries such as Sri Lanka, and particularly in the context of the opportunities presented by the Doha round. The purpose will be to emphasise that the round can work positively for developing countries if they are clear about the specific issues on which agreement is important, and if they form effective negotiating alliances - both within and beyond developing world - to further these interests.
The Trade Forum will provide the means for national policy makers to both discuss issues in depth, and to network with others within the Commonwealth. It is important that as business dimension the Trade Forum provides an excellent opportunity for trade and industry interests within the Commonwealth to present their point of view regarding the issues on the Doha agenda, especially with regard to operational impediments that they face in the actual conduct of trade. In each plenary and breakout session a business perspective on the issue under discussion built into the format.
Principal objectives of the Forum
The Commonwealth Trade Forum has four (4) principal objectives: Firstly to raise awareness of the various issues on the Doha agenda and to explore their implications.
Secondly, to assist with the formulation of negotiating positions that can be fed back to national governments to help them in their preparations for the negotiations. Thirdly, to provide business inputs to trade policy making in the Commonwealth as a region by drawing on the strength of the large number of global players amongst Commonwealth.
Finally, to aid the growth of business networks that are similarly active within their national governments and within their global associations. The Forum further offers a major opportunity for Commonwealth business interest to interact and network extensively with national government representatives and policy makers and with their colleagues from other countries.
Sri Lankan Trade Minister, Mr. Ravi Karunanayake, will address the conference on 'plenary on Doha development issues' on the first day of the conference. The main venue for the Forum will be the University of London.
Produced by Lake House