Canada and Caribbean countries deepen partnership at first Canada-Caribbean Community Foreign Ministers’ Group Meeting
February 19, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada
Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Eamon Courtenay, Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration and the incoming Chair of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), co-chaired the first meeting of the Canada-CARICOM Foreign Ministers’ Group. This forum serves as a platform for Canada and Caribbean partners to discuss shared priorities and opportunities for coordinated action.
During the meeting, the ministers exchanged views on their countries’ coordinated response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, identified shared priorities in achieving inclusive economic growth in the region and discussed areas of collaboration on climate resilience to support an inclusive and sustainable recovery.
Minister Garneau affirmed Canada’s strong support for the COVAX facility, and Canada’s commitment to continue encouraging others to provide additional support needed by this key multilateral partnership to ensure equitable access to vaccines globally. Minister Garneau also announced the following initiatives to deepen the Canada-CARICOM partnership:
- an $81.41-million pledge for the replenishment of the Caribbean Development Bank’s Special Development Fund
- a commitment of $9-million to the World Food Programme to support logistics and tackle food insecurity
Canada and Caribbean countries share deep and long-standing friendships based on people-to-people ties, shared political values, dynamic trade relations and a commitment to inclusive economic growth and climate resilience.
“Canada’s deep partnership with our Caribbean friends is critical as we seek to build back better, stronger and greener from the COVID-19 global pandemic and the economic hardships it caused. Today, we discussed our shared priorities and our commitment to build a better future together, based on long-standing friendships, shared values and dynamic trade relations with inclusive economic growth and climate resilience.’’
- Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs’
The Canada-CARICOM Foreign Ministers’ Group will serve as a forum for Canadian and Caribbean foreign ministers to discuss challenges, advance shared priorities and collaborate on innovative solutions for the Caribbean region.
Canada has mobilized more than $2 billion in international assistance in response to COVID-19.
CARICOM is composed of 15 member states and 5 associate members, which together represent close to 20 million people.
Since their independence, Canada has had long-standing ties with CARICOM countries on a wide range of issues, including trade, security and defence, education and governance
Canadian companies are active in CARICOM’s financial services, natural resources, clean technology, tourism, energy and education sectors.
In 2019, the value of Canada’s 2-way merchandise trade with CARICOM members amounted to $1.9 billion, and that of Canada’s trade in services amounted to $4.4 billion.
CARICOM markets offer opportunities for growth in the infrastructure, renewable energy, climate resilience, financial services, extractive, tourism and education sectors.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 2 million Canadians traveled to CARICOM countries annually.
Almost 1 million people of Caribbean descent call Canada home.
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
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