Director of Trade, Sean Lawrence

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – St. Kitts and Nevis is capitalizing on the many benefits of the recently-signed Cariforum-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, according to Director of Trade, Sean Lawrence.

According to http://www.ecdpm.org, “the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Caribbean Forum (Cariforum) and the European Community (EC) is the only comprehensive EPA negotiated so far, and was signed by all parties (except Haiti) in October 2008. Now that the details have been finalised a start can be made to identify the likely development impact, and this report provides an initial assessment.

“Comprehensive changes to trade, investment and related policies produce profound and wide- ranging economic impacts, but do so gradually over time with multiple, cross-cutting effects. The impact of the EPA on the Cariforum states will be especially wide-ranging (because of its broad scope) and drawn out (because it will be implemented over 25 years). This report focuses on the likely early effects and their implications for European Union (EU) policy both because these are currently the highest development priority and because the scale and scope of later effects will take time (and a great deal of in-country research) to assess accurately.”

“The agreement is comprehensive as it includes all goods, services and investments,” said Lawrence. “To capitalize on the agreement, the Federation has had experts in trade services to come to administer training at the national and regional level.

“We have taken even success stories and have persons give their own experiences,” said Lawrence. “We continue to have these training and exposure for our nationals to take advantage of the agreement.”

The director said that awareness and education about the agreement continues so that the public can understand what is available to take advantage of.

“To ensure that persons take advantage of the agreement, policies are looked into as well, said Lawrence. “This is to ensure that our policies are able to facilitate the trade.

“For example, we have to look at e-commerce. We have a provision in the EPA to take advantage of e-commerce. However, our national law may not allow or facilitate this particular trade in a specific mode.

“We sometimes go through the laws or legal experts to do a legal scan or scrub to look at these specific laws,” explained Lawrence. “They see what we can do to bring these laws up-to-date so that we can now take advantage of these specific agreements. That is ongoing. It has never stopped.”