Written by CBC NEWS Monday, 21 May 2012 16:47
Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Monday assured his Caribbean Community counterparts they can count on Mexico to represent the region’s interests when he hosts the leaders of the world’s richest nations, the Group of 20, in June.
“The Caribbean nations can count on Mexico as a friend and partner who will represent them actively and proudly in the G20 because we are also and I will underscore this are a part of the Caribbean region,” Calderon told the leaders of the 15-nation regional bloc in their second joint summit with Mexico at the Barbados Hilton, just outside, the capital, Bridgetown.
CARICOM leaders have pressed Calderon to support CARICOM’s position that calls for reform of the international financial institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, when Mexico, the current chair of the G20, hosts its summit on June 18 and 19.
Calderon said it was significant that Mexico, a developing nation, currently holds the presidency of the G20. He said Mexico has an ambitious agenda for development and stressed that his country intends to incorporate the opinions of all countries on the agenda but, in particular, developing nations such as CARICOM member states.
“For us it is very important that the perspectives of other developing countries be heard on the issue of moving forward on the world economic issues the problems experienced by many countries in the Caribbean region the fact that they are vulnerable nations that face problems and the fact that they are being classified as middle income nations results in an unfair treatment for many nations and that is why I would like to assure you my dear friends that Mexico will do its best to have the ideas and proposals of CARICOM member states to be considered at the next meeting of the leaders of the G20.”
Host Prime Minister Freundel Stuart repeated CARICOM’s call on Mexico to use its influence as chair of the G20, which controls 80 per cent of world trade, to represent the interests of the Caribbean and other small island developing states.
“At this uncertain juncture of world affairs perhaps the greatest contribution Mexico can make to the cause of Caribbean development is that of advocacy,” Stuart said.
Calderon stressed that a range of development issues will be discussed.
“We have included more subjects on developments than any other summit. We have also introduced topics on the agenda of the development for poor countries, the new financial engineering of international financial institutions that need to be restructured but we have also emphasise and include as the chair of the G20 the need to deal with the issue of financial institutions for the world’s poorest families who today do not have bank accounts or the possibility of saving or having access loans and credit.
“We have also included topics that have to deal with economic balances amongst nations, we have also included food security because we know that the poorest people in the world millions of who are in our countries are suffering because of the price of food stuff for years now,” he said.
Calderon and Stuart stressed the need for Mexico, currently gripped by an epidemic of deadly violence linked to drugs trafficking, and CARICOM to build relations in tackling transnational organised crime.
“Unilateral or fragmented approaches cannot effectively confront the security of the wider region and we know well that successes in one geographical area may shift criminal activity elsewhere to areas perceived to be more vulnerable, Stuart said.
“Constant multilateral co-ordination and cooperation and a high level of information exchange and share experience are therefore essential to face our common threat.”
“Mexico’s crucial role as current chair of the G20 represents a unique opportunity for the concerns of the region’s small and marginalised to be brought to the attention of next month’s summit through its good offices.”
Stuart said CARICOM’s was concerned about the “slow and uneven” pace of reform of the multilateral financial institutions and the “continued lack of representativeness and transparency of the G20”.
“As the Commonwealth secretary general has recently said, (the G20) may represent 90 per cent of global GDP (gross domestic product) but certainly not 90 per cent of the world’s countries.
Stuart continued: “The worrying signs that we have moved from the rich man’s club of the G7 to the big man’s club of the G20 whose members are more united in telling non-G20 countries what they should do than in prescribing to those within their own fold, the constant tilting of playing field and moving the gold post in the G20’s response toward Caribbean based international financial centres notwithstanding the fact that the bulk of proven money laundering, inadequate regulation and tax avoidance has occurred in the financial centres of Europe and the United States of America.”
Stuart also said the major trading powers needed to “find room within the assertive liberalisation policies” to accommodate and support small vulnerable economies through financing for development, aid for trade and debt forgiveness.
Noting Caribbean-Mexican collaboration in the international arena on climate change, Stuart hoped that Mexico will adopt and promote the Barbados Declaration that commits small island developing to pushing for sustainable energy use.
“We need to reassert the grave threat posed by climate change and the urgency of agreeing on a comprehensive and ambitious response and here we know that Mexico through its national commitments and domestic legislation has already led by example.
“Our hope that Mexico will champion and promote the recently adopted Barbados declaration on achieving sustainable energy for all in the small island developing states”
Stuart noted that the Caribbean can benefit from Mexico’s economic policies as he praised Mexican policymakers for “admirably steered the Mexican economy past the contagion of the international financial crisis and the collapse of international trade to a position of stable and sustained growth within two decades.
“Mexico has become one of the leading and most open economies in the world and a strategic manufacturing hub for an increasingly diversified and sophisticated range of export products. This provides excellent opportunities for partnerships in trade and investment with countries in the Caribbean especially in the context of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.
The Barbadian leader made a case for CARICOM and Mexico to urgently convene a trade and investment forum which he said would be an important vehicle to explore the synergies among their respective business sectors.
Stuart also noted there is a considerable scope for greater collaboration between Mexico and CARICOM on tourism.
“We acknowledge Mexico’s international leadership role in highlighting the enormous and underappreciated contribution which travel and tourism makes to sustainable development. We therefore hope that the federal government’s active involvement in the sector will lead Mexico’s renewed and active presence in the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, this will greatly enhance our strategic co-operation in sustainable tourism development for benefit of the entire region.”
The Mexican president also restated his government’s commitment to rebuilding CARICOM’s poorest member, Haiti, as it struggles to rebuild from the 2010 earthquake.
On Sunday, Mexico signed two cooperation agreements on working with CARICOM in Haitian reconstruction efforts.
Mexico hosts the G20 summit from June 18-19 at the resort town of Los Cabos on the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula.
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