By BBN Staff: During Belize’s third Trade Policy Review (TPR) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat this week, the United States declared Belize a valued trade partner, valuing trade between the countries at over $300 million.
U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Secretariat’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Christopher Wilson, explained that the $323 million in trade for 2016 highlighted Belize’s importance to the region as a growing economy. The US accounted for 37.6 percent of Belize’s total exports and 33.7 percent of its total imports last year.
While data from the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) showed that Belize’s exports to the U.S have been in decline, the bulk of the US/Belize trade is in the services sector through tourism, which does not fall into the scope of the data collected by the SIB.
Apart from high levels of trade, there are several other areas that the countries cooperate. The US is home to the largest expatriate Belizean community, estimated to be more than 70,000, while 185 US companies have operations in Belize.
The Trade Policy Review, held in Geneva, Switzerland, from the 24-26 of April is a requirement under the WTO Agreement through the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM) which seeks to analyze the trade policies and practices of WTO members and evaluates adherence by its members to the multilateral rules of trade adopted under the WTO Agreement which was signed in 1994 and entered into force on January 1st 1995.
The meeting included Belize’s major trading partners, such as the European Union (still representing the United Kingdom), the United States, Mexico and Guatemala. The review panel included the Chairperson, Ms. Irene Young, Hong Kong’s Permanent Representative to the WTO; the Discussant, Ambassador Mr. Peter Matt, from Liechtenstein; and Mr. Willy Alfaro, Director of the WTO’s Trade Policy Review Division.
The Directorate General for Foreign Trade will continue to lead implementation of Belize’s WTO commitments and the formulation of the National Trade Policy, in preparation for Belize’s fourth TPR, scheduled for 2024.
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