EPA forum for businesses to take place in Kingston

Jamaica Gleaner

EPA forum for businesses to take place in Kingston

9 April 2009

By Gareth Manning, Gleaner Writer

As the global marketplace becomes more anaemic, the Caribbean Council will next month host a forum aimed at improving private businesses’ understanding of how the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) will be implemented.

The EPA was signed by CARIFORUM countries (CARICOM and the Dominican Republic) last October. It replaces the former Lomè trade agreement with Europe, which allowed export from the Caribbean to some European nations on preferential terms.

The new accord will instead provide for a more reciprocal form of trade between both regions.

Associate director of programmes and business development at the Caribbean Council in London, Stephanie Whittle, told The Gleaner that the May 21 forum will mainly focus on the areas of tourism and the creative industries.

Provisions for tourism

"Tourism is one area that is specifically going to be discussed because there are a lot of provisions in the EPA for tourism and tourism-related industries," she said.

The forum will also focus on the traditional manufacturing industry, which could benefit greatly from the new trade agreement.

"It’s (the forum) very much focused on implementation. The EPA has been signed and we are focused on how is it going to affect the Caribbean and specifically the Caribbean private sector, and what is already in place either from institutions in the European Union or regional institutions," Whittle said.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding will open the forum, which is slated for Kingston.

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