Antigua St John's, 15 November 2011 (CARIBARENA Antigua) – The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures has allowed 13 African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) countries to maintain their export subsidies programmes until the end of 2012.

The WTO’s beneficiary countries resulting from this year’s review are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Grenada, Jamaica, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, St Lucia, St Kitts & Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Trade in Antigua & Barbuda, one of the affected countries, Colin Murdoch said the move was a welcome one since the decision would provide small developing countries like Antigua & Barbuda a little more leeway in their export policies and assistance tactics.

Mr Murdoch told that the move comes from following a review executed by the WTO every two years relating to commitments made by countries to abolish export subsidies. This review gives countries that have yet to live up to their abolition commitments to plead their case as to why they still have not implemented the strategies to better the sector.

WTO accessing requires a phasing out of export subsidy programmes vis-à-vis WTO member countries.

Antigua & Barbuda's Minister of Trade and Finance Harold Lovell has declined to comment on the WTO’s announcement to once again pardon Antigua & Barbuda without first receiving technical advice. -END

But Mr Murdoch pointed out that most of the countries pardoned are Caribbean, and specifically OECS, because of their small economies and export structures.

“A decision was taken to extend the export subsidies for these countries. It gives the countries a little more leeway in terms of exports,” Mr Murdoch said. -END-