Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, will be the scene of a series of regional high-level discussions on trade and related economic issues from 2 to 11 August, in the presence of the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Mr. Rubens Ricupero.
GRULAC Ministerial Meeting prior to UNCTAD X
The main event will be a Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Latin America and Caribbean countries (GRULAC) on 5 and 6 August, in preparation for the tenth quadrennial conference of UNCTAD (UNCTAD X) to be held in Bangkok (Thailand) from 12 to 19 February 2000. Some 250 policy-makers from the 33 countries of the region are expected to participate.
The Ministerial Meeting will be chaired by the Secretary of State of the Dominican Republic, H.E. Mr. Eduardo Latorre. Mr. Ricupero will give a keynote address at the inaugural session.
Organised jointly by the Latin American Economic System (SELA) and UNCTAD, ministers and senior regional officials will coordinate their position for UNCTAD X. The platform will contain the issues GRULAC wants to see dealt with at the conference, as well as proposed work areas for UNCTAD for the period 2000-2004. Participants will also look at ways to consolidate their intra-regional cooperation on economic and trade matters.
The Bangkok Conference, the first major United Nations’ meeting in the new millennium, will allow the international community to take stock of past development experience, so as to define appropriate policies to address long-standing economic and social challenges facing developing countries.
The GRULAC Ministerial Meeting will be the first in a series of regional preparations by the developing world for UNCTAD X. Asian Ministers will meet in Beirut (Lebanon) from 9 to 12 August, and African Ministers in Algiers (Algeria) from 8 to 10 September. Those regional coordinations will culminate in a Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 and China (132 developing countries) to take place from 13 to 16 September in Marrakesh (Morocco).
A "Positive Agenda" for future trade negotiations
Ahead of the GRULAC Meeting, from 2 to 4 August UNCTAD is organizing in Santo Domingo an Inter-regional Workshop on a Positive Agenda for Future Trade Negotiations. The workshop will be chaired by the Secretary General of UNCTAD.
Third in a series, the workshop will help developing countries in Latin America prepare for the next WTO Ministerial Conference (Seattle, USA; 30 November - 3 December), enabling them to take a pro-active stand on issues of interest to them. About 30 trade negotiators and experts from Governments, international organizations and academia will participate.
Focusing more closely on a positive trade agenda for the Central American countries, the UNCTAD secretariat is organizing from 9 to 11 August a brainstorming seminar for members of SIECA (Secretaria de Integración Económica Centroamericana), as well as the Dominican Republic and Panama. Support for the meeting is being provided by SIECA and ACIC (Agencia para la Cooperación e Información sobre Comercio Internacional). Top officials will participate from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.
Hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, the Seminar is an UNCTAD technical assistance project aimed at identifying the region’s priorities for international trade and helping shape its trade agenda for the Seattle WTO Ministerial Meeting.
Official visit of the Secretary-General of UNCTAD
During the week, the Secretary-General will also pay official calls on the host government. Next Thursday, 5 August, he will meet the President of the Dominican Republic, His Excellency Dr. Leonel Fernández, and other high officials, as well as private businessmen. Assistance from UNCTAD in the areas of trade and investment will be on the agenda.
Earlier, on 3 August Mr. Ricupero will give a lecture, entitled "Crisis of the markets or crisis of development?" at the Diplomatic School , in the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, to an audience of officials, businessmen and academics.