Over the past 5 years, the Trade Section has supported 18 Member States to formulate strategies aimed at enhancing export of professional services (that is, non-tourism services). The countries include 8 in the Caribbean; 6 in Africa; and 4 in both Europe and Asia. In addition, the Section has organised 2 conferences for Member States to learn, network and share experiences. While the value of a Pan-Commonwealth platform to address common issues has been widely appreciated, there is a need to take account of regional specificities and to open the events to a broader range of participants. Therefore, the Section is organising regional capacity building events to meet this need. The first workshop for the Caribbean region was held in St. Kitts and Nevis in November 2010 and the second, for Africa was held in Kenya in June 2011. The workshop for the Pacific region was held in Sydney, Australia from 24-26 January 2012.
The Trade Section has worked with countries in the Pacific to improve their competitiveness in tourism (e.g in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands) and trade facilitation (Papua New Guinea). Samoa and Tonga have been supported to develop frameworks to improve their exports. Officials in the region have also participated in a number of regional and Pan Commonwealth initiatives aimed at improving their competitiveness in non-tourism services in Malaysia (2008); Singapore (2009) and Mauritius (2010). Through this workshop, the Section provided a platform for participants in the region to take stock of developments in services trade; share experiences in promoting non-tourism services and together chart a way forward to improve their performance. The workshop was organised against a backdrop of important developments, such as: