Barbados will continue to benefit temporarily from Britain’s pact with the European Union to provide aid to poor and less-developed countries, the Senate heard today, as they sought to amend an economic partnership agreement in anticipation of Brexit.
The United Kingdom has agreed to continue contributing to EU-UK development cooperation until next year with its withdrawal from the EU.
The changes to the economic partnership agreement between the Caribbean Community and Dominican Republic – CARIFORUM – and the UK are included in the Economic Partnership Agreement (Amendment) Bill, which was introduced by Senator Kay McConney.
She told the Upper Chamber lawmakers: “[Development cooperation] was an important part of the EU/Cariforum EPA agreement.
“It lends assistance to poor countries to help them develop.
“This is usually administered through the European Development Fund.
“The UK is the second-largest contributor with 5.8 per cent as part of the EU family.
“The UK has agreed that [it] will continue until 2020 to contribute to the EU for development cooperation.”
One other change of benefit to Barbados is the change in the wording of the agreement which allows the country to still be eligible for “preferential access”, she added.
She said: “The new wording allows goods to transit Europe without having to change their origin.
“There are certain criteria goods have to make in order to make their way to the UK.
“It allows us to ensure that when our products have to transit through Europe before it gets to the UK and any of these processes have to be applied to them that they will still be deemed originating in Barbados and be eligible to the preferential access.”
Making the case for the adjustment to the original EPA with the EU she said: “We need to care about our internal relationships as we would our domestic relationships.
“When change happens internationally Barbados has to respond in a manner that safeguards our interest and where possible leaves opportunities open for our people and our businesses.”
Senator McConney lamented the fact that the changes were not of Barbados’ or the CARIFORUM’s making but had to be made in order to respond to the “divorce between the UK and EU”.
She said: “Barbados had no active part of the decisions or the outcome yet we are here seeking to pass legislation to deal with repercussions of actions taken by the UK.
“We are not in this alone, [there are] other members of CARIFORUM who are party to an agreement pre-existing this situation.
“We are here as a result of a divorce between the UK and the European Union.”