The CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement took centre stage as Caribbean Export Development Agency hosted two days of high-level meetings to discuss the way forward for the region in the implementation and utilisation of the EPA.
Held at Grosvenor Hotel in London, regional private sector representatives delivered a series of presentations and held panel discussions at the second 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 Executive Director of Caribbean Export Pamela Coke-Hamilton, 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,” Coke Hamilton concluded.
On the first day of the forum, Director General of the CARIFORUM Directorate, Ivan Ogando-Lora, spoke about the present situation surrounding the EPA implementation in his presentation and echoed the sentiments of Coke Hamilton, that “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 Barbados Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, Stephen Lashley; “Taking Advantage of Investment Opportunities within the Caribbean and Europe”, moderated by Communications Director of Caspian Publishing, Matthew Rock; and the capstone session “Trading with Europe – Making the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement Work”, which was moderated by BBC London Radio’s Eddie Nestor.
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.