Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 25, 2016 (SKNIS):  A World Trade Organization (WTO) National Workshop on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) aimed at better positioning citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis to know, protect and take advantage of their Intellectual Property (IP) rights, kicked off at the Ocean Terrace Inn on Tuesday, October 25.


The workshop which will run from Tuesday, October 25, to Wednesday, October 26, is expected to increase participants’ awareness of IP and its importance to a knowledge-based economy; highlight the importance of protection and enforcement of IP in today’s knowledge-based society as it relates to the global economy; examine St. Kitts and Nevis’ primary policies related to IP protection and enforcement; and explore the relevance of interagency cooperation in relation to protection and enforcement of IP.


During the opening ceremony, the Honourable Lindsay Grant, Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, said that the workshop was timely and of paramount importance especially to St. Kitts and Nevis.


“St. Kitts and Nevis is plugged in to the digital age, and with easy access, to data and other forms of information and dynamism, and the norms of our society have rapidly evolved over the years to reflect a need for innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Minister Grant. “Indeed, most of the traditional industries we are once accustomed to have now morphed into industries based on witty ideas and inventions, which the owners of such must benefit from their commercial value. With this in light, Intellectual Property Rights thus become a major backbone for growth and development and one of the major agents that will spur exports for our small business sector and our entrepreneurs.”


Minister Grant used the occasion to highlight the importance of Zhavier Shaw’s recent trip to Chile to attend the Global Services Exporters Conference as an aspiring game developer.


“As contributor to the Creative and Services Industry and Information Communication Technology (ICT), this young man’s commercial value must be realized and to do so his intellectual property rights must be enforced and must be protected,” said the trade minister. “I believe that the time has come for our cherished Federation to take the reins of its own destiny and steer ourselves in the direction that will bring us much closer to our national policy for employment creation and sustainable economic growth and development.”

The minister of trade added that it is imperative for all to understand that the world will not be as kind as it once was and therefore citizens and residents must be able to rely on policy makers and enforcers to protect their patents, trademarks and copyrights.


Over the next two days participants will hear presentations from the facilitators Mrs. Xiaoping Wu, Counsellor, Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Policy Division at the WTO, and Ms. Carol Simpson, Head, Caribbean Section, Bureau of Latin America and the Caribbean, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).


Participants consist of persons from a wide cross section of Government in St. Kitts and in Nevis including Ministry of Trade, Justice and Legal Affairs, Information Technology, Sustainable Development, Department of Agriculture and Department of Culture. Representatives from the Bank of Nevis, St. Kitts and Nevis National Carnival Committee, St. Kitts and Nevis Customs and Excise Department, Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, Advantage Communications and St. Kitts Bottling Company also form part of the workshop.

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