The inaugural meeting, which took place on 16 and 26 October, saw Central American Foreign Ministers, Trade Ministers and Ambassadors come together to discuss the three pillars of the UK-CAAA Agreement, with sessions on Political Dialogue, Co-operation, and Trade. A further Plenary session welcomed progress on the implementation of the Agreement.
Delegates from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama met with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Minister, David Rutley, and Department of Business and Trade Minister, Nigel Huddleston.
Minister for the Americas, David Rutley, chaired sessions on politics and co-operation – two pillars that are central to the 2019 Agreement. He said:
Our relationship with Central America continues to go from strength to strength and I am delighted that we have hosted the inaugural meeting of the UK Central America Association Council here in London.
This is an important partnership. We continue to foster cooperation and work together on a broad range of issues, from trade to the environment, so we can deliver on our shared objectives.
Discussions covered topics including regional integration, climate, environment, human rights, and migration, and it was agreed that a political dialogue sub-committee within the Agreement would be established to enable further progress to be made.
UK Minister for Trade, Nigel Huddleston, met with trade ministers from the Central American nations to discuss ways of advancing trade between members of the UK-CAAA. He said:
This event is a perfect opportunity to boost our £2.7 billion trading relationship with this vibrant region by identifying trade priorities and unlocking barriers standing in the way of businesses. I was delighted to meet with trade ministers from across Central America to foster closer trade ties which will fuel economic growth, jobs, and exciting new opportunities for British companies.
A reception took place at Lancaster House following the conclusion of the first day of the Council on 16 October. In attendance were MPs from the Central America all-party parliamentary group as well as leading members from the business and academic community leading on Central America matters.
Members of the Council meet every four years, with an official-level Committee annually.