Online guide: business opportunities for Caribbean and European firms
The International Trade Centre (ITC) has released a business guide to enable both Caribbean and European firms to maximize the mutual benefits of the European Community (EC)-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
“ITC has been working with CARIFORUM countries to help them draw up national export and sector-specific strategies that will benefit small firms,” said Patricia R. Francis, ITC’s Executive Director. “ITC believes that small firms are key to economic recovery and development, which is why we’ve decided to make this resource available free online. This guide is a practical, accessible tool for both Caribbean and European businesses looking for new opportunities.”
This EPA is the first of the European Union’s comprehensive and reciprocal trade agreements to be concluded with ACP (African, Caribbean, and Pacific) nations. It establishes a predictable business environment for Caribbean and European businesses seeking to trade in services and to invest in each other’s markets.
The EPA secures duty-free and quota-free market access for all CARIFORUM export goods, excluding rice and sugar (which will be phased in by 2010 and 2015 respectively). In addition, the European Union has liberalized more than 90% of its service sectors and granted market access for CARIFORUM investment in almost all sectors.
The guide EC-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement: Services and Investment Commitments comes at a time when growth across the Caribbean has slowed due to the global economic downturn. By outlining the EU’s and CARIFORUM’s market access commitments for services and investment, the guide describes valuable new opportunities for both Caribbean and European businesses. Caribbean exporters now have significant new opportunities in the tourism, entertainment, professional services, and health sectors. European businesses can identify new opportunities for investment in tourism, manufacturing, business services, transportation, communication, construction, and education. This user-friendly guide translates the agreement’s trade jargon into commonly understood language.
“This guide could also prove to be a valuable resource for other regions in their lead up to and preparation for EPA negotiations,” added Ms Francis. “What CARIFORUM has achieved could serve as a model for many regions and provides a quick insight into what can be gained.”Click here to download the PDF version