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Implementing the Economic Partnership Agreement: Challenges and Bottlenecks in the CARIFORUM Region

Discussion Paper 117

June 2011

Humphrey, E. 2011. Implementing the Economic Partnership Agreement: Challenges and Bottlenecks in the CARIFORUM region. (ECDPM Discussion Paper 117). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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In 2008, the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries and the European Union (EU) signed an Economic 
Partnership Agreement (EPA), which enabled them to satisfy their obligations to conclude a WTO compatible trade arrangement.
The comprehensive reciprocal trading arrangement replaces the one-way preferential access, which the EU had extended to certain developing countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific in 1975.

Purpose of ECDPM study

The Implementation of the EPA has been endorsed by CARIFORUM and the EU. However, formal implementation structures are in place only in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Grenada and Jamaica.

With the exception of the Dominican Republic case, the EPA implementation and coordination units are constrained by insufficient financial and personnel resources.

CARICOM has sought to address the capacity constraints, particularly among the region’s smaller
economies, by establishing a regional EPA Implementation Unit to provide direct support and to coordinate
technical assistance to Member States.

Key Findings of ECDPM Study

  • There is an EPA information deficit at almost every level in the public and private sectors and this problem is having a negative impact on EPA implementation.
  • Public sector officials and private sector executives do not know enough about the EPA, the provisions of the Agreement and how to access related benefits the provisions of the Agreement.
  • CARIFORUM Governance has also emerged as a major bottleneck impeding progress in managing the implementation of the Agreement.
  • The tardy establishment of oversight institutions continues to hamper the EPA implementation process.
  • The Joint CARIFORUM – EU Council was only established in the margins of the CARIFORUM-EU Summit in May 2010 and the other key institutions have taken even longer to become operational
  • The limited amount of Aid-for-Trade (AfT) resources made available to CARIFORUM Member States since the signing of the EPA has fallen far short of what the region anticipated and needs.

Read Discussion Paper 117

Download (PDF, 664KB)

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Economic Transformation and TradeTrade Policy and Economic Partnership AgreementsDiscussion Papers (series)ResearchEconomic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)Forum of the Caribbean Group of ACP States (CARIFORUM)BarbadosDominican RepublicSaint Vincent and the Grenadines

External authors

Errol Humphrey