JIS News

Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, has noted that Jamaica should not only look at the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), but also at positioning itself for trade generally.
He also stated that Jamaica should aim to implement all trade arrangements, whether under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), CARICOM, EPA, and with Canada.
“The implementation of the EPA must therefore be undertaken within the framework aimed at developing our capacity to participate more effectively in the international trade in goods and services,” Dr. Baugh said during yesterday’s (Aug. 26) debate in the House of Representatives, on the CARIFORUM/European Union (EU) EPA.
He added that the country must focus on the production of high quality goods and services and on the need to improve sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade and its intellectual property framework.
Dr. Baugh also said it is critical that a holistic approach be adopted in the implementation of the EPA and all other trade agreements, in the context of the National Development Plan, (Vision 2030) and the National Export Strategy.
The Minister also noted that the EPA technical working group, which was established by Cabinet, is focussing on broad implementation strategies, which will encompass all trade agreements, both current and prospective.
In addition, Dr. Baugh informed, that work is currently underway on a desk audit, of technical assistance projects, which will identify the gaps in existing trade related development projects, and establish areas, which will require development support.
“We have to look to a co-ordinated approach to utilising all donor resources in our effort to build our trade capacity. We however are conscious of the distinct role of the EU in providing development support (mainly grant aid), over many years estimated at 530 million Euros, under the Lome Conventions and 224 million Euros,” Dr. Baugh 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 into the world market, and the eradication of poverty.
It is expected that sustainable growth will be enhanced; production and supply capacity increased; and structural processing and economic diversification of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, promoted, while supporting regional integration.