JIS News

As CARIFORUM countries prepare to sign and implement an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Ken Baugh, has emphasized that Jamaica must make every effort to be first in line with projects to take advantage of assistance under the agreement.
“The Caribbean is the first and only region to have signed a comprehensive EPA agreement with the European Union. It should be in the interest of the European Union as well as CARICOM to make sure that this works effectively,” the Minister said.
“Therefore, we are hoping that under EPA trade and other facilities provided for the development of capacity – to modernize our factories, to build competencies, to modernize our equipment and to make sure that we are in a position to expand and diversify our exports – that this will be treated properly,” Dr. Baugh said.
He was making his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, yesterday (June 25).
The Minister said this was the only way that Jamaica and CARIFORUM as a whole, could know for certain that the agreement is truly beneficial and a catalyst for development.
“My greatest fear is that if we continue to lament and dwell on what the detractors are saying, our partners in CARIFORUM will quietly get their houses in order, and ready themselves to take advantage of this agreement. And before we know it, they will run ahead of us and take up the benefits envisioned under the Agreement,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
The fundamental principles and objectives of the EPA between the EU and CARIFORUM states are defined by the Cotonou Agreement and seek to create sustainable development of the states, their smooth and gradual integration in the world market, and eradication of poverty.
It is expected that sustainable growth will be enhanced; production and supply capacity increased; and structural processing and economic diversification of ACP states, promoted, while supporting regional integration.
The EPA, which was initialed by the parties in Barbados on December 16 of last year, is expected to result in, among other things, predictability in market access into the European Union, the world’s largest import spending market for goods and services.

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