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Deputy Secretary-General Josephine Ojiambo with the UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox (left) and Malta’s Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses Chris Cardona

Trade is the ‘lifeblood’ of Commonwealth members

13 December 2017

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Josephine Ojiambo has concluded her trip to the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) by saying ‘trade is the lifeblood for many of our members’.

She led a Commonwealth Secretariat trade delegation to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the aim of raising the profile of small states on issues relating to trade and climate change. Along with Commonwealth experts, she spoke at three side events that were held in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) covering trade, climate change and fisheries.

DSG Ojiambo also spoke at a reception entitled Commonwealth and Trade, hosted by the UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox.  She said: “A strong rules-based multilateral trading system is of utmost importance to all our member states, especially small states, LDCs and Sub-Saharan African countries. We need to ensure that the voices of these most vulnerable countries are heard. In giving them an equal voice, together, we can find solutions to their challenges, and chart a clearer, better path of integration into the global trading system.

“We have engaged on the margins of MC11 with our partners and stakeholders to reflect on trade and climate change, fishing and harmful fishing subsidies, and on the importance of diversifying from a dependence on commodities. These discussions underpinned the centrality of ensuring sustainability and resilience-building for our member states, and will be followed by a work programme of joint action.”

DSG Ojiambo highlighted recent trade successes for the Commonwealth including the first Commonwealth Trade Review in 2015, followed by a successful Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting and the first meeting of the Working Group on Trade and Investment held earlier this year in London.

She concluded by saying: “Trade is the lifeblood for many of our members. Working together, we can harness the Commonwealth trade advantage to boost trade, investment and innovation for the benefit of all our citizens – and contribute to greater global prosperity for all.”

Read her full statement