JIS News

Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) states and the European Union are committed to, among other things, facilitating trade between the parties, while maintaining and increasing capacity to protect plant, animal, and public health.
This is included in the sanitary and phytosanitary measures, under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and CARIFORUM. The signatories have also agreed to improve capacity to identify, prevent and minimize unintended disruptions or barriers to trade with measures necessary to protect plant, animal and public health within the EU and CARIFORUM states.
In addition, CARIFORUM states will be assisted in establishing harmonized intra-regional sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, with a view to facilitating the recognition of the equivalence of such measures with those existing in the EU. The states will also be assisted in ensuring compliance with SPS measures.
These objectives are part of multilateral obligations under which the parties have confirmed their commitment to the rights and obligations provided for in the World Trade Organisation Agreement for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (WTO SPS Agreement). Both sides have also reaffirmed their rights and obligations under the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), CODEX Alimentarius and the World Animal Health Organisation.
Under the EPA, there will be collaboration between national and regional authorities dealing with SPS matters, including the Competent Authorities, as this is important to facilitate both intra-regional trade and trade between the parties, as well as the overall process of CARIFORUM regional integration.
In this regard, the EU and CARIFORUM countries have agreed on the importance of establishing harmonized SPS measures, both in the European Commission (EC) party and between CARIFORUM states, and have undertaken to co-operate to this end.
This will see extensive consultations with the aim of achieving bilateral arrangements on recognition of the equivalence of specified SPS measures.
In the absence of harmonized SPS measures or the recognition of equivalence, the parties agree to consult on ways to facilitate trade and reduce unnecessary administrative requirements.
Co-operation, including facilitating support, will include: reinforcement of regional integration and the improvement of monitoring, implementation and enforcement of SPS measures, to include training and information events for regulatory personnel; establishment of the appropriate arrangements for the sharing of expertise, to address issues of plant, animal and public health, as well as training and information events for regulatory personnel; and development of the capacity of enterprises, in particular CARIFORUM enterprises, to meet regulatory and market requirements.
Extensive negotiations for WTO-compatible reciprocal trade agreements (EPAs), began in September 2002. This led up to the December 2007 deadline, when the new agreement was reached with ACP countries.
The EPA seeks to create sustainable development of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States, including CARIFORUM states, their smooth and gradual integration in the world market, and eradication of poverty.
Specifically, sustainable growth will be enhanced; production and supply capacity increased; and structural processing and economic diversification of ACP states, promoted, while supporting regional integration.