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Thursday, 03 November 2016


Another anniversary of the signing of the CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) has come and gone, and without much fanfare as to how much progress is being made in implementing this agreement. The EPA was signed right here in Barbados on October 15, 2008, by representatives of Caribbean member states (with the exception of Guyana and Haiti which signed at later dates) and the European Union. It offers opportunities for trade in both goods and services, and financial inflows to a region which must come to grips with the reality that the world has changed and the old ways of doing business have gone. With nothing much having been said about the EPA, this leaves one to wonder if this is an oversight or that the agreement does not hold enough significance for those who have to gain from it, to mention it around the eighth anniversary of the signing. Each anniversary of the EPA should be an occasion to reflect on the progress Caribbean countries are making in implementing the agreement, what will be approached in the coming year/years, and a signal about the difficulties in getting things done. This is because of the structure of the EPA. In the area of market access for goods, both sides agreed that after ten years, according to a study by Sheldon Mclean, Errol Humphrey and J. Khadan, CARIFORUM must liberalise 61.1 per cent of EU imports; 82.7 per cent at the end of 15 years; and 86.9 per cent at the end of 25 years. They noted further that Customs Fees and Stamp taxes are also to be liberalised.

Source: barbadosadvocate.com