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Thursday, 16 June 2011

Key committee pushes forward trade pact with Europe

The inaugural meeting of the Trade and Development Committee (TDC) of a sweeping trade pact between Caribbean nations and the European Union is being hailed as a success by regional diplomats. The convening of the TDC had met with earlier delays. It is a key component in implementing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that the European Union signed in 2008 with the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM), comprising the 15-member Caribbean Community plus Cuba and the Dominican Republic. "Notable strides" were made, "albeit with a mixed record of success," said Alexis Rosado, the chief executive officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Belize, who chaired the Jun. 9- 10 inaugural meeting. He spoke of Britain's Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund), which has provided the financial and technical impetus for establishing EPA Implementation Units in a number of CARIFORUM states. "These units are expected to have a direct and positive impact on EPA implementation in these states," he said. "These institutional additions to the EPA implementation landscape across the region are very tangible expressions of EU States' commitment to assisting their EPA partners through Aid for Trade. Since the inaugural meeting of the Joint Council, these institutional advances have emerged as vital components of the machinery of EPA implementation in the region," he said. A statement issued at the end of the closed-door meeting said that both Europe and CARIFORUM agreed "to work collaboratively towards an Aid for Trade-styled coordination and resource mobilization event in 2012 for CARIFORUM, in recognition of the magnitude of the financial requirements of the EPA implementation task ahead, at both regional and national levels".

Source: caribbean360.com