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Barbados prime minister Owen Arthur, acting on behalf of the member states of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), and Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) president Enrique Iglesias have signed documents for a US$400,000 grant to support the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) in preparing for and undertaking international trade talks.

The resources will finance training and technical assistance to enable the RNM and Caricom member states to continue to formulate regional positions in the various ongoing international trade negotiations and acquire the necessary expertise and information to more effectively negotiate agreements.

The programme is expected to result in enhanced responsiveness of the RNM to shifts in negotiations, improved response from the national governments to RNM requests for information and opinion and better coordination between the RNM and the national governments in the preparation of regional negotiating positions.

The member states of the Caribbean Community established the RNM in 1997 to pool negotiating assets in order to enhance the effectiveness of international trade talks. The present IADB grant is the third by the bank to support and strengthen the RNM.