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Monday, 02 April 2012

3 new agreements to strengthen CARIFORUM

The Caribbean Forum of the ACP Group (CARIFORUM) and the European Commission (EC) recently signed three financial agreements. While the first agreement will focus on economic and trade integration, the second deal is expected to help develop areas of government procurement, labour market information systems and e-commerce.  The third agreement is intended to improve the CARIFORUM’s capacity to benefit from EPA provisions.
With a total value of €82.6 million, the financing agreements provide EC support for, among other things, the economic integration and trade of the nine-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS); the further development of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), with special allocations for Belize and Haiti ; and CARIFORUM’s implementation commitments under the CARIFORUM-EC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
The CSME-related Programme, will lend support to develop areas of government procurement, labour market information systems and e-commerce. It will also place emphasis on transferring social security benefits, and building capacity in statistics, among other areas. Funds have been set aside under this agreement to support Belize and Haiti to be better placed ot take advantage of the CSME, as well as to assist other CARICOM Member states to bridge the implementation gap.
The third agreement provides €46.5 million to boost CARIFORUM’s capacity to take full advantage of the provisions of the EPA and to honour its commitments therein. The programme provides support for fiscal reform and adjustment; sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures; services; the rum sector and (removing) technical barriers to trade..
While the signature of the agreements signalled a beginning, the Secretary-General cautioned that the end product would have no meaning if the people of the Region did not feel the impact of the resources.

Source: ACP