July 20 — The Governments of Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis will intensify their national consultations on the CARICOM-Canada trade negotiations. The national consultation process will be continued on 19-20 July, 2010 in Antigua and Barbuda and on 22-23 July, 2010 in St. Kitts and Nevis through the convening of meetings which will be facilitated By the Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN), in collaboration with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Secretariat. Ambassador Gail Mathurin, Director General of the OTN, as well as technical officials from the OTN, the OECS Secretariat and the governments of St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda, will guide the discussions. The agenda will include in-depth discussion on the proposed Agreement, with a focus on CARICOM’s and Canada’s negotiating proposals and draft text. In addition to the Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITS) which some CARICOM member states have with Canada, as a group, CARICOM’s current trade and economic relations with Canada are governed By the 1979 CARICOM-Canada Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement and its Protocols, including the CARICOM-Canada 1998 Protocol on Rum, and the CARIBCAN Agreement, which is a non-reciprocal preferential trade agreement that grants unilateral duty free access to eligible goods from beneficiary countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. As a non-reciprocal unilateral preferential arrangement, CARIBCAN is incompatible with WTO rules and therefore requires a WTO waiver. That waiver is scheduled to expire in 2011. On the other hand, the Trade and Development Agreement between CARICOM and Canada will be compatible with WTO rules and will not require a waiver. Furthermore, it is anticipated that this agreement will provide CARICOM with broader and better preferential access to the Canadian market. While CARIBCAN provides duty-free access for a range of CARICOM goods, it does not include services, which is becoming an increasingly important and valuable productive sector within CARICOM.