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Friday, 22 March 2013

CARICOM : EPA implementation gets a boost

St Vincent and the Grenadines is poised to make greater strides in the implementation of the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM)-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), building on progress made to date.
These were the sentiments of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Consumer Affairs, the Hon. Dr Douglas Slater, who delivered the keynote address at the opening of a three-day National EPA Implementation Plan meeting on March 11.
The meeting marked the formal launch of the consultative process of developing a National EPA Implementation Plan, while providing the opportunity for a first engagement of stakeholders with the consultant who is responsible for crafting the Implementation Plan.
In addition to St Vincent and the Grenadines, consultants are developing (and, in some cases, have already developed) Implementation Plans — on an as needs basis — for the following CARIFORUM States: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, The Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada and Saint Lucia.
The EPA Implementation Unit within the CARIFORUM Directorate of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat is also involved.
The Implementation Plans initiative is funded under the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund)- a fund, financed by the United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
It is envisaged, therefore, that National EPA Implementation Units would develop their own implementable National EPA Implementation Plans. They would utilize the high level Road Map document- which identifies only the broad actions (chronologically) to be taken at the national and regional levels.
Despite the progress of CARIFORUM States in EPA’s  implementation, concerns remain about the extent of involvement of the private sector.