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Exports to EU declining despite EPA

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Exports to EU declining despite EPA

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The export of goods from CARIFORUM countries to the European Union has been on the decline over the past five years despite the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the two regions to facilitate increased trade.
The director general of the CARIFORUM directorate, Ivan Ogando Lora, said the latest statistics released by the European Commission show that the export of goods from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to the EU had remained virtually stagnant despite the signing of the EPA in October 2008.
He said that while leaders in the region were good at making policies and “putting together schemes” they were failing when it came to execution and implementation.
“We have the EU Economic Partnership Agreement which has been put in place in order to foster regional cooperation and integration but the rhetoric of regional integration has gone way too far than our efforts to cement regional integration and EPA has not been an exception unfortunately,” he said, adding that the EPA?was also meant to help with intra-Caribbean integration.
Ogando Lora was speaking during the opening session of the Caribbean Export Development Agency’s Caribbean Exporters’ Colloquium last Wednesday.
He said the export of goods from ACP countries to the EU went from a value of £4.5 billion (BDS13.6 billion) to £4.6 billion (BDS$13.9 billion) between 2007 and 2011.
According to the same source CARIFORUM members exported £4.9 billion in 2009 while the corresponding period in 2011 was £4.7 billion.
“Inflows of EU foreign direct investment in the region have also fallen short on the regional expectation. As a matter of fact, the stock of new foreign direct investment in CARIFORUM has decreased from £22.6 billion in 2009 to £19.4 billion in 2011,” reported Ogando Lora.
He said decline in performance was due to several factors including the world economic downturn, the fact that the EPA had to “compete” with other agreements which the EU later signed with other countries, as well as “a gap between the signing of the EPA and the disbursement of regional funds allocated under the EDF support to facilitate the EPA implementation”.
CARIFORUM is a grouping of CARICOM and the Dominican Republic. (MM)