CARIFORUM Heads and EU Commissioners to Meet in Barbados from December 14 to 15


A two-day meeting between CARIFORUM Heads of Government and the European Union (EU) trade commissioners will be held in Barbados from December 14 to 15, in the hopes of finalizing negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) by the December 31 deadline.
This was disclosed by Assistant Director in the Foreign Trade Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, David Prendergast, at the (Dec. 11) weekly-post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House. Among the critical issues to be resolved are: market access, the removal of tariffs, a new sugar agreement to replace the Cotonou-based sugar protocol, as well as access for Caribbean bananas.
Mr. Prendergast said that prior to the meeting, a caucus of CARIFORUM officials will meet in Barbados on December 13.
The EPA, which is expected to come into effect by January 2008, will replace the non-reciprocal preferential trade arrangements that African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) countries enjoyed under the LOME Convention and Cotonou agreement.
The negotiations between the CARIFORUM Heads and the European EU Commissioners require consensus on a range of issues before the EPA can come into operation.

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