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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Cadiz: Get business ready for EU

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) is almost 13 years old, yet Caribbean states remain vulnerable in some ways to the eventual free-access EU goods and services will have to their markets. Trade and Industry Minister Stephen Cadiz has therefore called on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to take the appropriate steps to ensure their businesses can compete on the international market. “When you open your market to a grouping like the EU there can be some negative fallout. Revenues to the different Caricom territories may suffer with the increased access of EU goods and services to their markets. We have to make sure that does not happen, that the territories are all strong enough. As CARICOM, we can in fact do that, we can help and work with each other to deal with the EU.” Cadiz was speaking to Newsday, following his presentation at a European Union/CARIFORUM seminar on doing business with Europe under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), at Hilton Trinidad. The trade minister acknowledged the EPA’s good aspects too, saying CARICOM now had trade and cultural access across Europe, with the exception of Belgium. “Energy would still be a major export from TT but not just selling our raw material. We are looking at a whole host of downstream products, such as plastics and textiles that we can produce. TT therefore needs to identify where those export markets are.” […] “Ultimately,” Cadiz told seminar attendants, “the EPA is a platform to expand businesses by creating predictable market access. It promotes economic growth, and through encouraging joint ventures and other strategic partnerships, it allows for access to EU technology and ultimately technology transfer. In essence it promotes greater trade between our two regions.”

Source: Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday