The Nation, St Michael (Barbados)
’Ill feelings’ about EPA
Published on: 3/29/06.
THERE ARE a number of "misconceptions" circulating about the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) being negotiated between CARICOM, the Dominican Republic, and the European Union.
This was the concern expressed yesterday by principal EPA negotiators, Ambassador Dr Richard Bernal, director-general of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM), and Karl Falkenberg, directorate-general for trade in the European Commission.
Speaking in light of yesterday’s street protest against the EPA negotiations by members of civil society, Bernal stressed the meeting was a "stocktaking exercise" and nothing binding had been signed.
He stressed they shared the same goals as civil society, pointing out both the EU and CARIFORUM (CARICOM plus the Dominican Republic) negotiators were committed to keeping development on the EPA agenda.
Falkenberg noted the stance of the protest seemed to be based on a "caricature" of the EPA, an outside perception of what the EPA was, not the substance of what was being discussed in the negotiators’ meeting.
However, both Bernal and Falkenberg acknowledged that more avenues were needed to get the information out.
The comments came at a Press conference at Grand Barbados Beach Resort. (CH)