Caribbean Export Hosts Pivotal Business Forum on EPA, Trade and Investment

The CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) took centre stage as Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) hosted two days of high-level meetings to discuss the way forward for the region in the implementation and utilisation of the EPA.

L to r – Director General of the CARIFORUM Directorate, Ivan Ogando-Lora, UK Minister of State (Alternate Gov. of the CDB) – Alan Duncan {CENTRE} & Executive Director of Caribbean Export; Pamela Coke Hamilton

Held at Grosvenor Hotel in London, regional private sector representatives delivered a series of presentations and held panel discussions at the 2nd CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum under the theme, “Making the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement Work”.

“The EPA is a very important foundation for us in the region to build on and utilise, with respect to tapping into the European market place”, commented Pamela Coke Hamilton, Executive Director of Caribbean Export in her opening remarks. “However, we need to continue to put in place mechanisms to enable our private sector, for example, agro-processors and creative industries, to take advantage of the Agreement. This meeting is one, important step in that direction…”

On the first day of the Forum, Director General of the CARIFORUM Directorate, Mr. Ivan Ogando-Lora, spoke about the present situation surrounding the EPA implementation in his presentation and echoed the sentiments of Mrs. Coke Hamilton, “CARIFORUM is open for business and is unflinching in its commitment to implementing the EPA”.

Other discussions of the day included ‘Investing and Doing Business in the Caribbean’s Sports Industry’, moderated by Stephen Lashley, Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, Barbados; ‘Taking Advantage of Investment Opportunities within the Caribbean and Europe’, moderated by Mr. Matthew Rock, Communications Director, Caspian Publishing and Founding Editor, Real Business Magazine; and the capstone session ‘Trading with Europe – Making the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement Work’, which was moderated by Mr. Eddie Nestor, Presenter, Drive Time, BBC London Radio.

Day two of the meetings saw a number of breakout sessions, which focused primarily on the recently concluded Manufacturing and Cultural Industries Study Tours to the United Kingdom, Germany and France. In particular, the sessions covered issues related to Standards, Intellectual Property, Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary requirements, Market Intelligence and Technical Assistance. The Forum ended with recommendations for enhancing CARIFORUM-EU trade and investment relations.

The fifteen signatory Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific (CARIFORUM) States to the EPA are the independent CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic.

The 2nd CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum was supported under the European Union’s (EU) 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP), in collaboration with the African Caribbean and Pacific States Business Climate Facility (ACP BizClim), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), CARIFORUM Directorate, the CARICOM Secretariat, and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

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