EPA Agreement Seeks To Promote Sustainable Development


A fundamental objective of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is the sustainable development and eradication of poverty, particularly among Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) states, which are also African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) members.
This agreement between Europe and the ACP members also seeks to promote the smooth and gradual integration of these economies into the global economy, through sustainable trade with Europe. The EPA targets key sectors and makes provisions aimed at facilitating broad benefits to the parties and interests concerned.
In three of these areas, agriculture, food, and fisheries, the parties acknowledge the importance of these sectors to the economies of CARIFORUM states, and the need for co-operation to transform them into competitive industries, thereby developing their capacity to access high quality markets.
Based on the EPA, the parties also recognize the need to facilitate adjustment of these sectors and the rural economy, focusing on small scale operations in the process.
Consistent with the provisions of article seven of the Agreement, the parties have agreed to improve the competitiveness of potentially viable production; develop export marketing capabilities; identify options for improving marketing infrastructure and transportation, as well as financing and co-operation options for producers and traders.
There is also consensus on the need for compliance with and adoption of quality standards relating to food production and marketing; promotion of private investment and public-private partnerships in potentially viable production; improvement in the ability of CARIFORUM operators to comply with national, regional, and international technical, health and quality standards for fish and fish products; building or strengthening the scientific and technical human and institutional capability at the regional level for sustainable trade in fisheries products; exchange of experiences, information, and best practices, and consultations on all issues relevant to trade.
The EPA is an instrument of trade partnership required by the Cotonou Agreement to replace the trade component of Lome IV. It is expected that it will help ACP countries, including CARIFORUM, to reduce poverty and achieve economic growth through sustainable trade with Europe.
CARIFORUM states are all of the independent territories within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), along with Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.

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