Exporters moving to take Advantage of EPA


Local exporters are moving to take advantage of provisions under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), signed by some Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, and the European Union (EU).
In the search for new export markets, the Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA) has submitted a proposal to the European Union to administer a project to create a framework for sustainable development and expansion of exports to Europe.
In an interview with JIS News, President of the JEA, Mr. Vitus Evans, said the project is aimed at stimulating support for the processed food, agriculture, aquaculture and entertainment industries.
“What we are seeking is some funding which will actually allow our firms to have the capacity to be able to compete within the EU market. So, we have actually applied for some funding of about 11 million Euros and we have actually gone a far way in our discussions with the local EU office, and the EU Ambassador has given it his support and the Government of Jamaica is fully behind it,” he disclosed.
The funding is being sought to facilitate improvement of beneficiary companies’ capacity to access adequate and consistent supply of raw material; for institutional strengthening of public agencies responsible for key facilitation services to comply with EU market access requirements; and the building of relationship with technical support agencies to bring exporters up to date on new technologies and best practices in the export market.
Mr. Evans said the programme would impact agencies, such as the Bureau of Standards, the Veterinary Services Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Jamaica Trade and Invest and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, all of which have agreed to have the JEA spearhead the programme.
He said many of the JEA members are already looking forward to increased exports to the EU under the provisions of the EPA.
“Our members are certainly anxious to be part of that and to actually take advantage of those opportunities. And even now I see an influx of people seeking membership in the JEA, because we are looking at a situation where production is on the increase and we hope that once that increases, then exports will automatically increase,” he told JIS News.
The EPA was signed in 2008 between CARIFORUM countries (CARICOM and Dominican Republic) and the EU. The agreement is intended to stimulate greater investment between Europe and the Caribbean, through mutual removal of barriers to investment, as well as increase the attractiveness of the Caribbean economic space in respect of foreign investment opportunities. The Agreement is also intended to stimulate Caribbean exports of non-traditional products and services, encourage and support diversification in these economies.

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