The first meeting of the CARIFORUM – United Kingdom Economic Partnership Agreement’s (EPA) Trade and Development Committee took place virtually last week.
The following joint communiqué was issued through the CARICOM Secretariat on conclusion of the meeting:
The first meeting of the CARIFORUM – United Kingdom Economic Partnership Agreement’s (EPA) Trade and Development Committee took place via videoconference on 7th October 2021. The meeting, chaired by CARIFORUM, was attended by representatives from Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Belize; The Commonwealth of the Bahamas; The Commonwealth of Dominica; The Dominican Republic; Grenada; The Republic of Guyana; Haiti, Jamaica; St Christopher and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; The Republic of Suriname; The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The parties noted with satisfaction that the EPA had secured continuity of a trading relationship worth £2.9 billion in 2020. The parties expressed their desire to further develop sustainable and inclusive trade, underpinned by the EPA.
The United Kingdom and CARIFORUM States discussed matters of joint interest under the Agreement including tariff liberalisation, trade in goods and services, and Geographical Indications. Views were exchanged on the United Kingdom’s provision of development assistance under the EPA. The meeting was also an opportunity for both parties to provide updates on relevant trade policy developments in the United Kingdom and in the Caribbean region, and to reaffirm their desire for a prompt ratification of the EPA by all parties.
In preparation for the Joint Council, the Trade and Development Committee reviewed Rules of Procedure for the Trade and Development Committee, the Joint Council, and the Special Committees under the EPA.
The parties agreed to continue to work towards the effective implementation and operation of the Agreement and agreed to hold further meetings of the Joint Institutions on mutually agreed dates.