Region told: Make use of EPA advantage

Barbadian firms need to make good use of the CARIFORUM/European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) while the region still has an advantage over African and Pacific counterparts, says Lincoln Price, private sector liaison of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM).

"We have the first-move advantage but it will not be a permanent advantage.  It will be eroded as other people get similar EPA benefits."

In October2008 the CARIFORUM group, which comprises 14 Caribbean Community nations plus the Dominican Republic, signed the EPA with the European Union, with some provisions taking immediate effect.

The agreement gives the Caribbean countries immediate and indefinite duty-free, quota-free access to the EU for most goods and services while committing to a phased removal of duties on European imports over the next 25 years.

The EPA is not an end in itself, but it is tool so that Barbados and the wider Caribbean can adjust to global competition and can have the tools to improve their efficiency and productivity to last in a global market, Price added.

Source: Barbados Business Authority, 30/04/2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009