UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, today renewed his country’s support for the Commonwealth’s Small States Office in Geneva.
Speaking at the Commonwealth Business Forum, Dr Fox said: “I am pleased to announce that the United Kingdom is supporting the Commonwealth Small States Office in Geneva, to build its human rights and trade capacity. Our two-fold approach will see technical human rights expertise made available to Commonwealth small states, facilitating their effective participation in the work of the Geneva-based international mechanisms.
“We will also provide dedicated trade advisors to increase the meaningful participation of Commonwealth Small States in international trade and facilitate their integration into the multilateral trading system.”
The Commonwealth’s Geneva office and business centre is home to small Commonwealth states including Malawi, Guyana, Solomon Islands and Seychelles as well as permanent delegations of regional groups such as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIFS). It allows these small countries and organisations to participate effectively in UN and WTO forums.
Dr Fox was speaking at a plenary session called Global Economic Outlook: Trade, Growth and The Commonwealth Inaugural Plenary Where is the global economy heading? How can the Commonwealth lead the world in catalysing growth and championing free and fairer trade? at the Business Forum in Guildhall.
At the same session, Julie Bishop, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, underpinned her support for free trade, by saying: “Those that benefit most from free and open trade are those that are on that development path. And I would not like to see the Commonwealth turn away from that – which is why this Business Forum is so important.”