Prof Chris Milner (Standing) presents findings of the study into trade within the Commonwealth at Marlborough House on 25 October 2007. On his right is Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy, the director of Economic Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat.
26 October 2007
For a number of Commonwealth countries, poor infrastructure, small size and remoteness are hindrances to trade, report says
A study into the trade of Commonwealth countries has called upon the Secretariat to continue supporting member countries with trade development as the best way out of poverty.
The work was undertaken in response to the call by Commonwealth Heads of Government for the Secretary-General “to explore innovative approaches to strengthen intra-Commonwealth dialogue, networking, and collaboration on trade and economic issues”
The study, The Structure of Commonwealth Trade and the Scope for Deepening Linkages was conducted by Professor Chris Milner from Nottingham University at the request of the Economic Affairs Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Presenting the draft findings at Marlborough House on 25 October 2007, Prof Milner said that there exists some unused trade potential within the Commonwealth but that this is concentrated on specific countries and regions.
To tap into this potential, Prof Milner said that there is need to address the barriers to market access, removal of non trade tariff, domestic and international barriers.
He said that for a number of Commonwealth countries, poor infrastructure, small size and remoteness are hindrances to trade.
Prof Milner said that the objective of the study was to explore the opportunities for increasing trade within the Commonwealth, analyse intra- Commonwealth trade flows, formulate policy recommendations to promote intra Commonwealth Trade, and identify the barriers.
Speaking at the same event, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Ransford Smith said that Heads of Government meeting in Malta in 2005 mandated the Commonwealth to identify ways of strengthening trade and economic development among member states.
Mr Smith also said that the leaders requested the Secretariat to continue playing a leading role as a facilitator to achieve the above objectives.
Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy, the director of EAD said that given the Commonwealth’s character, diversity and the importance to its members of international trade, the expansion and development of trade and the fuller and more beneficial participation of its members in the trading system is a major priority for the Commonwealth Secretariat.
“The Secretariat has been supporting Governments as well as sponsoring and directly pursuing initiatives for expanding and building inter-country and inter-regional trading links,” Coomaraswamy said.
Dr Coomaraswamy said that this is in recognition of the “clear desire and spirit of cooperation amongst Commonwealth Members as reflected in numerous Commonwealth declarations and actions.”
In the run-up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala, Uganda, in November 2007, an in-depth study analysing intra-Commonwealth trade flows and making recommendations provides objective and informed guidance to the policymakers to further enhance intra-commonwealth trade and cooperation.