Jamaica and the Dominican Republic have agreed to develop a bilateral agenda ‘with a view to seeking convergence in positions that address regional and international issues of mutual interest’ and ‘consolidating’ their relationship.
The two countries’ position was set out in a joint declaration at the end of a visit by Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, to the Dominican Republic at the invitation of Dominican President Danilo Medina. The May 15 to 16 official visit, the first in 34 years by a Jamaican Prime Minister, came against a background of questions about the viability of CARICOM as presently structured, and Jamaican interest in strengthening economic ties with its Northern Caribbean neighbours.
In the lengthy and substantive joint formal statement issued after the visit, Jamaica broke with the negative language adopted by CARICOM since 2013 and emphasised its belief, shared by the Dominican Republic, that the two nations have in common a track record of ‘defending values and principles with respect to democracy, protection of human rights and respect for the rule of law’.
Reflecting the long-term thinking of Prime Minister Holness that the nations of the Northern Caribbean (Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands) share common priorities and objectives, it was agreed that it was important for both sides to increase trade and bilateral investment ‘in an equitable way’ to exploit the potential of both economies.
In apparent recognition of the need for regional coherence in international trade negotiations, the official statement said that both leaders emphasised the importance of co-ordination in CARIFORUM, and the importance of strengthening bilateral coordination to promote a regional agenda on issues such as Brexit; the future of the ACP group; and negotiations for a post-Cotonou agreement with the EU.
In the near term, the two leaders also underlined the need to increase co-operation in tourism, with both sides agreeing to sign an accord….
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