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Africa, Caribbean, Pacific | Brussels, 22 November 2013

EU and Caribbean reaffirm commitment to trade and development partnership

Senior officials from the EU and the Caribbean today reaffirmed the two regions’ commitment to their close trade and development partnership. Meeting in St. George’s, Grenada, on 21 November, officials discussed progress so far in putting the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) into practice.

The EPA is now in its fifth year of implementation, and this was the third annual meeting of a body which it establishes, the CARIFORUM-EU Trade and Development Committee (TDC).

Officials focussed on involving civil society in EPA implementation, trade in agriculture, and monitoring the EPA. They discussed the involvement of civil society, which will have its own Consultative Committee under the EPA. On agriculture, they launched talks on measures to promote and protect Geographical Indications (GIs) – such as Blue Mountain coffee from Jamaica or Roquefort cheese from France. The regular monitoring and review of the EPA was also on the agenda, with discussion of the first five-yearly review, due for completion in 2014, and the creation of a long-term mechanism to monitor the EPA's results.

Background

The EPA is a trade and development partnership, signed in 2008 by the 15 States that make up CARIFORUM, and the EU. Its objective is to promote trade and investment, underpin regional integration and foster sustainable development in the Caribbean region. The EPA also covers services, competition, innovation and intellectual property, public procurement, and environmental and labour standards. The CARIFORUM-EU EPA is supported by funding worth €140 millions covering the period 2012-15, to Caribbean governments and businesses put the EPA into practice and exploit its opportunities to the fullest.

The EU is CARIFORUM's second largest trading partner, after the US. In 2011, trade between the two regions came to over €8 billion. In 2011 CARIFORUM ran a trade deficit with the EU of some €2.2 billion. In other words, CARIFORUM countries exported €2.2 billion less in goods and services to the EU than they imported from the EU.

For more information

EU-Caribbean trade relations