Radio Jamaica | Thursday, 16 October 2008
Guyana now ready to sign EPA
After opting out of Wednesday’s signing, Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo now says the country is ready to take forward the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe.
In a letter to the CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington, President Jagdeo confirmed Guyana’s absence from the Barbados signing of the new trade accord which was sealed by 13 regional partners.
The President, however, promised that in the spirit of compromise and given his country’s strong commitment to regional integration and solidarity, Guyana would finalise the deal by October 31.
Mr. Jagdeo said he was now satisfied that there has been substantial improvement to the agreement, having fought for the inclusion of a mandatory review clause.
The Guyanese leader, who has also been seeking to get Europe to give precedence to the CARICOM Treaty over the EPA with very limited success, said he also plans to write his partners in the African, Caribbean and Pacific grouping informing them of his latest position.
Meantime, one day after the region signed the controversial Economic partnership Agreement with Europe, a UK based charity group has accused the EU of betraying the Caribbean’s development goals.
Oxfam and other non-governmental organisations have been critical of the EU over its handling of negotiations for the new trade deal with African Caribbean and Pacific countries.
Oxfam’s campaign leader on the EPA Colin Roach contends that the agreement forces the former colonies to open up their markets.