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Caribbean Single Market and Economy #434436
03/30/12 09:24 AM
03/30/12 09:24 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 82,923
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

EU Representative Robert Kopechy and CARICOM SG Irwin LaRocque sign the agreements

CARIFORUM and EU Sign $110M in Agreements; Allocations for Belize, Haiti

The Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) and the European Union signed three financial agreements aimed at boosting the region’s integration efforts.

The three agreements have a total value of $110 million, which will support integration and trade in the OECS, the further development of the CARICOM single market, with special allocations for Belize and Haiti, and CARIFORUM’s commitments under its joint EU partnership agreement.

The OECS portion will strengthen the organization’s capacity to integrate into wider CARICOM arrangments.

The CARICOM single-market agreement will place emphasis on developing government procurement, labour market information systems and e-commerce.

Funds have been set aside to support Belize and Haiti to be better positioned to take advantage of the single market.

“Impact, results and benefits must be the watchwords at the level of implementation,” said CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque. “We must satisfy regional stakeholders that our actions bring them added value to their lives. That is the bottom line.”

Robert Kopechy, EU representative to CARICOM, called the funds a “testimony to the EU’s continued commitments to support the Caribbean region in the dynamic process of regional integration and signal another milestone in the longstanding relation between the Caribbean Forum of ACP States and the European Union.”


Re: Caribbean Single Market and Economy [Re: Marty] #434437
03/30/12 09:25 AM
03/30/12 09:25 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 82,923
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
CARIFORUM and the European Commission signed on 28 March a series of financial agreements aimed at assisting the development of a single market among CARIFORUM member states. CARIFORUM is the grouping of Caribbean states whose member countries are parties to an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union signed in late 2008. That agreement provides a market opening in both directions, and also for development aid for the CARIFORUM countries from the EU. So far, much of that aid has been specifically focused on helping regional countries develop the integrated Caribbean market which should boost their economic competitiveness globally.

The 28 March agreement is worth EUR82.6million. A key element is a focus on boosting integration in the nine-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) sub-region, especially the OECS Economic Union. That union has already shown stronger movement towards economic integration than other parts of CARIFORUM, for example through the use of a common currency--the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. According to an official statement issued on 29 March by the CARICOM Secretariat, which handled the negotiations for CARIFORUM, EUR8.6million will go towards boosting harmonised agriculture and tourism policies in the OECS; EUR28million will be focused on several aspects of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), especially on Belize and Haiti; and EUR46.5million will go towards implementation commitments on areas including fiscal reform, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, and rum. Robert Kopechy, head of the EU delegation, said that the funds were "testimony of the EU's continuing commitments to support the Caribbean region in the dynamic process of regional integration".

Significance: This is one more step towards fulfilling the conditions of the EU-CARIFORUM EPA. It indicates continuing political will in the EU to economically support the region as it seeks to build its capacity and compete in European markets. That is crucial to the region, as its preferential trade access to the EU gradually runs out under WTO conditionalities. The focus on the OECS portion of CARIFORUM certainly highlights specific challenges in the Eastern Caribbean, but also underlines that the OECS, given the steps it has already taken, is likely to be viewed by EU officials as the most likely 'core' of the pan-Caribbean integration project.

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