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EPA Between EU And Caribbean To Be Signed In July

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

15 May 2008


The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Commission (EC) and the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) is to be signed in July 2008, according to an announcement by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.

At the Twenty-Sixth Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), which wrapped up in Antigua and Barbuda on 10th May 2008, ministers considered possible dates for signing and the provisional application of the Agreement, and reported that they were in consultations with the EC on the subject.

The EPA negotiations were concluded last December when, after years of difficult negotiations, Peter Mandelson, EU Trade Commissioner, finally secured the adoption of a ruling which will bring into effect a set of Economic Partnership Agreements with ACP member countries, giving them free access to the member states of the the EU for their goods exports, in return for opening their own markets to the EU after transition periods of up to 25 years.

CARIFORUM member states are now in the process of reviewing the text prior to signature.

The COTED held discussions on what needed to be in place for implementation of the EPA. The CARICOM Secretariat has prepared a road map outlining in broad terms what needed to be done, and the focus is now placed on the commitments at the level of member states. The ministers agreed on the need to identify national coordinators to move the process forward.


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