Radio Jamaica | Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Jamaica to sign EPA with Europe
Prime Minister Bruce Golding has announced that Jamaica is to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe next month.
July 15 is the date set for the signing.
But even as the country prepares to join the treaty, Mr. Golding said the signing could be called off if there is wide scale opposition.
He warned opponents to the EPA that this will have negative implications for Jamaica.
"Now EPA is not a perfect agreement. We are going to be having a debate on it in parliament shortly and we are expecting to sign that agreement on the 15th of July. It is not a perfect agreement but I think under the circumstances it is a good agreement and as I tell the critics we didn’t have to sign it and we still don’t have to sign it,"
"If you feel that it is not good for us then make a case because we can always say to the Europeans...it doesn’t suit us so we won’t be there but when you do that understand that every item you send to Europe is going to attract duties. If we can deal with that then fine," he said.
The Economic Partnership Agreement is a scheme to create a free trade area between the European Union and African, Pacific and Caribbean (ACP) countries.
It is in response to continuing criticism that the non-reciprocal and discriminating preferential trade agreements offered by the EU are incompatible with World Trade Organisation rules.
On Monday RJR News reported that the opposition Peoples National Party were opposed to the inclusion of a Most Favoured Nation clause in the EPA.
The provision restricts each country in the agreement from making special deals with specific countries without including all countries in the agreement.