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Thursday, 22 July 2010

Guyana Has No Regrets over Holding Out on EPA

 Two years after 14 Caribbean countries signed a wide-ranging and controversial Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe, Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo still maintains that his country was right in holding out until the last minute to get a "better deal" for the Caribbean.Under the EPA, the European Union allows the 15-member Caricom grouping plus the Dominican Republic (known as CARIFORUM) duty- and quota-free access to its market in all goods and services, with the Caribbean agreeing to open 80 percent of its market to the Europeans. Haiti signed in 2009. Guyana, which did not attend the October 2008 signing ceremony, had argued on a number of fronts, including concerns that the "Most Favoured Nation" clause in the accord – which commits CARIFORUM to grant Europe the same treatment it grants to any 'major trading economy' in subsequent free trade agreements, including developing countries like China and trade blocs like Mercosur - would affect Caricom's cooperation with South-South partners that has been a feature in development economics for decades.

Source: Inter Press News Service