We, the Heads of Government representing member countries of the Commonwealth and one third of the world’s population recognise international trade and investment as an engine for generating inclusive and participative economic growth and a means to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Recalling our previous statement issued in Kotte in 2013 and the Malta Communique in 2015, and mindful of the intra-Commonwealth trade and investment potential as demonstrated in the 2015 and 2018 Commonwealth Trade Reviews, we stress the importance of international trade and investment in boosting employment and income in our countries and helping them achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
We take note of the statement delivered by Malta at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference and we affirm our commitment to free trade in a transparent, inclusive, fair, and open rules-based multilateral trading system as a foundation for economic development and growth. We encourage member countries to work collectively towards strengthening the system and on trade issues which will lead to more prosperity in the world economy.
In particular, we recognise the importance of the multilateral trading system in ensuring the integration of small, vulnerable and least developed countries and countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific into the world economy, and welcome initiatives which will support greater and more effective participation of these countries in international trade.
With members drawn from every geographic region and every level of development, we affirm the role the Commonwealth can play in supporting global growth, creating employment, the sharing of best practices and learning and promoting development among its members.
To promote the realisation of these goals, we hereby launch the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment.
This Agenda will be guided by the principles that: co-operation should be pragmatic and practical, leading to credible results; take into account regional integration initiatives; take into account the needs of small and vulnerable economies and least developed countries; avoid duplication with initiatives where other organisations are already working; add value in areas of engagement; and adopt a progressive approach towards a long term vision for closer trade and investment ties. It should also recognise the vital role of the private sector in delivering the 2030 Agenda and facilitating the promotion of the blue and green economy.
In pursuing the Agenda, member countries will structure dialogue around the following clusters:
Issued at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, London, United Kingdom, 16 – 20 April 2018.