The Ministry of Financial Services regrets that the President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) feels that is was not included in the World Trade Organization (WTO) consultation process launched recently. As explained to him, this is simply not so. The fact is that the consultation process is following a rational protocol in which those sectors of the economy that will have offers put on the table for negotiation are being consulted immediately, so that their input can shape the negotiations for their sectors. The groupings of these sectors follow specific CPC code groupings defined by the WTO and are being followed by the Ministry. The trade unions, churches and other civic groupings, which are not sectors under negotiation, are scheduled for a separate set of consultations and discussions to take place shortly.
The World Trade Organization does not involve the “free movement of people or labour”; does not involve any negotiations toward free movement of labour; does not have any agreements on labour among its members, as it does agreements on goods, services, intellectual property rights and dispute settlement.
It is the Ministry’s hope that the union leadership and other civic groupings will participate fully in the meetings planned for their groupings and would be happy to discuss same with Mr. Ferguson or any other leadership. The Ministry will continue its consultations as scheduled, conscious of the fact that the input of the various economic sectors that will be subject to negotiations and those that will not be subject to same all have a role to play in helping the Government put forward the strongest positions to advance the interest of the country, which is the ultimate aim of the process.