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… 100M Euros budgeted for next five years The Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) and European Union (EU) trade officials have reaffirmed theirEU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmströmcommitment to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as a comprehensive and forward-looking platform for economic and social cooperation.As officials from both sides gathered at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown for a one-day meeting on Friday, they discussed the progress made thus far and in light of shortcomings in the past years they agreed that immediate attention should be paid to the continuous monitoring of the EPA.The Third Meeting of the Joint EU-CARIFORUM Council was conducted with the aim for the two regions to take stock of the first five years of the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and for the representatives to plan the next phase of cooperation.The meeting saw attendance from Trade Ministers from across the Caribbean Region.Addressing members of the media after the meeting, CARIFORUM Senior Representative and meeting chair, Oliver Joseph said that both sides had the opportunity to express their views on what had been accomplished, the constraints, the challenges and they decided on a way forward.“The meeting was very successful. There is a common understanding on both sides that this is a partnership that we want continued, that we want developed, that we want to see greater progress as we move forward,” the CARIFORUM representative reported.He said the EU has planned to offer financial and technical support. According to Joseph, there are a number of areas that need to be addressed in this region and the CARIFORUM member states have pledged to workCARIFORUM Chair,Iowa Hawkeyes Jerseys, Oliver Josephassiduously to achieve their objectives.“We have capacity constraints,Supply NFL Jerseys Factory, technical and human constraints,” the CARIFORUM Representative revealed.Meanwhile, European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström remarked that the amount of successes they were looking forward to when the agreement was signed in 2008 have not materialized in all areas; a spinoff of the economic crisis that has affected all parties as well as the failure to fully implement the tools available.“We have kept our markets open on the European Union side for goods. CARICOM members are opening their markets gradually. We also discussed how we could increase the markets for the service sector,Authentic Jerseys Cheap,” the Trade Commissioner divulged.The latter, she said, is the key for the Caribbean economy to grow and the EU has gradually increased access therein.“We have agreed to establish a system for permanent monitoring of the agreement which includes data collection of services to identify the problems so we can address them in a more strategic way and even be essential to follow up on all the measures that we have decided on today (Friday),” she said.The Trade Commissioner reiterated EU’s commitment to working with the Caribbean Region to overcome the constraints faced in trading with the EU Member States.An important part of the Economic Partnership Agreement is to support regional integration, which Malmström highlighted as a key element for economic development of the Caribbean Region.According to EU Trade Commissioner, the involvement of parliamentarians,China Jerseys Online, the private sector and civil society were discussed since they are important to the implementation of the EPA.“We are in a good position now to enter into the new phase of the impact which would result in more trade between CARIFORUM and the European Union, also because the world economy is in a better shape,” Malmström remarked.As it relates to the 100M Euros being budgeted for the next five years, the Trade Commissioner said the money given will be left up to the Caribbean countries to decide where they will expend it, whether it be to tackle sore issues like climate Change or diversifying the economy among other things.“It’s very much for the countries of CARIFORUM to sit together and try to decide priorities there as well and for the individual countries to continue to work with us,cheap jerseys from china,” Malmström remarked.Adding to that, Joseph said “We want to use a lot of it for strengthening the regional integration. We have identified a lot of capacity constraints so we can use this money to deal with integration among ourselves.”He said the money will go towards helping “deep regional integration” so as to take advantage of the agreement.The EPA trade and partnership was signed in 2008 by the 15 states that make up CARIFORUM and the EU. It aims to make it easier for people and businesses in the two regions to invest in and trade with each other, and to boost growth across the Caribbean.The EPA has three main features. Firstly, it introduces asymmetric reciprocity in trade between the CARIFORUM States and the EU. It also reflects the current level of development in the Caribbean, and the region’s specific characteristics and challenges.The EPA also covers trade in a much wider sense than the rules that came before it. It covers not just goods but also services – the backbone of modern economies – and areas where rules and regulations can help promote trade: competition, innovation and intellectual property, public procurement and environmental and labour standards.(Sunita Samaroo)
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