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Caribbean Struggles to Make Complex Trade Deal with EU a Reality

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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Caribbean Struggles to Make Complex Trade Deal with EU a Reality

When Caribbean journalists met in Antigua in late March to discuss the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that was signed between the European Union and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries in 2008, they were told that the absence of tax treaties, foreign exchange controls and language barriers were among the factors preventing the full implementation of the accord. Sonia Allyson Francis, a specialist with the EPA Implementation Unit of the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, also listed ignorance of cultural norms, customs and values, and the cost of travel as other challenges to the implementation of the EPA.  "Persons aren't able to key-in in terms of what are their actual development cooperation needs and that's why we have a delay in implementing the services and investment aspect of the agreement," she said.  Now, as the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) – one of the principal organs within the 15-member regional grouping and comprising finance, trade and economic ministers – gets ready to meet in Guyana on Thursday, the CARICOM Secretariat has signaled that implementation of the EPA will be the major agenda item.

Source:IPS news