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The government of the Caribbean territory, St. Kitts and Nevis has launched an initiative to educate local businesses of the benefits on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union, under the leadership of the jurisdiction's EPA Implementation Unit.
The EPA, in place since 2008, significantly liberalizes the trade regime between Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) nations and the EU, to promote the integration of the CARIFORUM countries into the world economy.
Territories that immediately adopted the agreement on October 15, 2008, included Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Guyana signed the agreement on October 20, 2008 while Haiti has requested more time to review the agreement.
Among the provisions of the EPA is a “development package”, which will provide Caribbean economies with the financing necessary to increase their export capabilities and infrastructure. Substantial EU funding has been provided to Caribbean nations to undertake regulatory and tax reforms to improve conditions for business undertaking cross-border trade and investment.
The differences in size and development of the countries of the region are also taken into account in the EPA, in order to create a bi-regional agreement with a wider scope than a traditional multilateral Free Trade Agreement.
Shelly Ross-Chaderton, Coordinator of the EPA Implementation Unit, explained: “This Trade and Development Agreement, which also includes a cultural component, offers tremendous opportunities to the public and private sectors, therefore all stakeholders should be in a state of readiness to take advantage of these opportunities."
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