The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is hosting the Second Meeting of the Barbados/Suriname Joint Economic, Technical and Cultural Cooperation Commission (Joint Commission) from March 3 to 4.
The meeting, which has brought delegations from the two countries together in Barbados, will comprise one day of deliberations and one day of site visits. The sessions are being held at the Turtle Beach Hotel, Dover Christ Church, and are being convened at the level of Permanent Secretaries.
In 2005, the Governments of Barbados and Suriname signed the Agreement for Bilateral Cooperation which governs the Joint Commission. Meetings of the Joint Commission alternate between Suriname and Barbados.
The Bilateral Agreement provides for cooperation in a wide range of areas. Deliberations in this meeting of the Joint Commission will cover agriculture and trade and investment as well as international transport. The service of transport for goods and people between the two countries will also feature prominently on the agenda, as this issue remains a challenging but significant trade facilitation factor at the heart of Barbados/Suriname cooperation, and at the wider regional level.
During the talks, Barbados will seek to highlight and promote areas in which it has a distinct advantage, including technical and vocational training, and especially the country's ability to provide and receive quality services in this area.
The Second meeting of the Joint Commission will build on the agreed outcomes of the Commission's inaugural meeting held April 22 to 23, 2009 in Paramaribo. It is envisaged that the major outcomes of the discussions will include proposals for action to stimulate agricultural trade and investment between Barbados and Suriname, as well as joint initiatives in the area of tourism. It is hoped that synergies would be developed between Barbados' mature and high-end tourism product and Suriname's more eco-based and now mushrooming tourism industry.
Barbados and Suriname established diplomatic relations in March 1978 and since that then have maintained tides. Barbados has keen interest in augmenting this relationship through productive and mutually-beneficial endeavours consistent with bolstering and consolidating the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME).
At present, Barbados/Suriname commercial relations are limited in scope and heavily skewed in favour of energy cooperation. Barbados imports massive amounts of Bunker 'C' grade fuel oil from the South American CARICOM country. Expanded trade in goods and services, and increased joint venture initiatives are expected results from Barbados' ongoing efforts to deepen relations with Suriname.