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National Trade Negotiating Commission holds first Regular Meeting

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Posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2021. 9:06 am CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: This week the National Trade Negotiating Commission (NTNC) held its First Regular Meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, and Immigration auditorium in Belmopan.

The Government of Belize (GOB) explained today that the NTNC, which is comprised of government ministries and departments as well as the private sector, civil society, labour groups, non-government organizations, and academia, functions as the primary consultative mechanism between government and all non-state actors in the negotiation and implementation of trade agreements in Belize.

At the meeting, held on Monday, August 3, 2021, the NTNC reviewed, finalized, and adopted the Rules of Procedure, which will guide its operations and ensure that it functions smoothly.

“The meeting addressed substantive matters, which included cross border payments and constraints experienced by the private sector in exporting to Guatemala and Mexico, prospects for a trade agreement between Belize and Mexico, and preparations for the third meeting of the Belize-Guatemala Administrative Commission to be held on August 12 to 13, 2021,” GOB said. “Other important matters addressed were front of package warning label, World Trade Organization negotiations on fisheries subsidies, the Trade Facilitation Road Map that was recently approved by Cabinet, and targeted industries for investments to CARICOM.”

The meeting also saw the creation of a Task Force on Payments, which has the responsibility to develop a national strategy addressing the establishment of a formal payment system to assist Belizean traders with sending and receiving payments from Mexico and Central America. GOB also said that the Task Force on Payments is expected to convene its first meeting within two weeks and will report back to the NTNC either at a special meeting or at the Second Regular Meeting of the commission.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for September 29, 2021.

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