Caribbean Political Economy

EPAS and Asymmetrical Integration: Caribbean Tale

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Presentation at Workshop on Alternative Trade, St Mary’s University, Halifax, N.S. 1-2 November 2013

Click HERE  for PowerPoint Presentation

The Caribbean EPA Five Years After, Joyce Van Genderen-Naar

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December 16, 2012 marks the fifth anniversary of the conclusion of negotiations of the CARIFORUM-EC Economic Partnership Agreement. During this time the controversies over the Caribbean EPA have not abated. In her review for the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly meeting held in Suriname last month, Joyce Van Genderen-Naar raises questions about the ratification and provisional application of the EPA, points to the losses of revenue and the preference erosion facing Caribbean countries, and discloses the major differences that have erupted between Caribbean and European officials over the tariff liberalisation schedules.

Read Joyce’s presentation

From Berlin to Brussels: EPAs as the second ‘Scramble for Africa’, Charles Soludo

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Professor Charles Soludo has been Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (2004-2009); Chief Economic Adviser to the President of Nigeria and CEO of the Nigerian National Planning Commission (2003-2004), Founding Chairman of the African Finance Corporation and consultant to 18 international organisations. A Board Member of the South Centre, this presentation showing why EPAs are contrary to the interests of  Africa was made at a Forum in Geneva in Jul2y 2012.


The WTO-EPA-CSME Interface, P.J. Patterson

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Text of address by Most Hon. P.J. Patterson,  former Prime Minister of Jamaica, in which he makes some critical observations  about the Economic Partnership Agreement between the Caribbean and the European Union which was signed in 2008.

Text of Patterson address

Doubts Linger About Caribbean-EU Trade Pact, Peter Richards

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 1 2012 (IPS) – P.J. Patterson, the former Jamaican prime minister, has had a long relationship with the European Union…

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When protector turned killer, Vijay Prashad

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NATO has consistently blocked any attempt to scrutinise the war crimes it committed during the ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Libya.

Back in January Faiz Fathi Jfara of Bani Walid asked a simple question, “I just need an answer from NATO: why did you destroy my home and kill my family?” NATO refuses to answer him…

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Statement on Guyana-Venezuela Workshop, Norman Girvan

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Communiqué from United Nations Press Office, 17 May 2012.

Demonstrating their on-going commitment to a peaceful resolution of their long-standing border controversy, on Tuesday 15 May officials from the Republic of Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela attended a technical workshop on related matters at UN Headquarters in New York…


The Common Sense Convois, Lloyd Best Institute

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The Lloyd Best Institute has announced the ‘Common Sense Convois’ to be held in Trinidad and Tobago March 18-25 2012, ‘a civic intervention designed to influence the shape of the next 50 years of the Caribbean and to network the region in a common conversation about the Caribbean and its future’.

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Latin America: No Longer for Sale, Tamara Pearson

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Webmaster’s note: the inaugural summit of the recently concluded Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was attended by 13 CARICOM leaders, several of whom spoke out strongly in support of the new organisation, which aims to consolidate the unity and independence of the entire region. Tamara Pearson, who covered the summit for,,   captures the feeilng and flavour of the historic meeting.

“Haha, Ortega doesn’t know what he’s talking about, neither does Evo, they don’t know anything about crime, there are reports out there that know more,” said a journalist from Bloomberg to his colleague. The journalist was sitting next to me in the press tent set up outside the CELAC plenary sessions in the Patio de Honor of the Bolivarian Militia University of Venezuela…

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Final Declaration of Havana Approved

Declaration adopted by the Cuba-CARICOM Summit

CARICOM’S stinging rebuke to the United States Rickey Singh

US Committing blunder after blunder Raffique Shah

Haiti: Tapping the Past, Facing the Future, Reginald Dumas

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Keynote address at the 23rd Annual Conference of the Haitian Studies Association, UWI, Mona, Jamaica, Friday, November 11, 2011. Ambassador Reginald Dumas is a distinguished former diplomat of Trinidad and Tobago who served as the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Haiti in 2004.

Let me indicate at the outset what I shall not be talking about this morning…I shall not be talking about Haiti being the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I shall not be talking about what we have come to call “Haiti’s glorious past”. I have the greatest admiration for the exploits and achievements of Boukman and Toussaint and Dessalines and Christophe and others who fought successfully for independence, but we should in my view be focusing less on the past and much more on Haiti’s somewhat less than glorious present, and on the possibilities for its future…

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Comment: A Timely, Critical look at Haiti, Rickey Singh

The ‘Most Favoured Nation’ Clause in the CARIFORUM-EC EPA: Policy Blunder or Legal Inconsistency? Claude Chase

Claude Chase is an attorney specialising in international trade and investment law and recently served an internship at the WTO Appellate Body Secretariat. This paper was published in Legal Issues of Economic Integration 38, no. 2 (2011).

The inclusion of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clauses in the EPA, that require CARIFORUM countries to extend to the EU any more favourable treatment granted to third parties in future Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), has generated some controversy. This note critically examines the arguments that have been leveled against the inclusion of these clauses from legal, and policy perspectives…


The CARIFORUM-EC EPA in the media 2007-2008, Norman Girvan

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A selection of over 300 media items on the EPA published at the height of the controversy in 2007 and 2008.

Click here for EPA in the media 2007-2008

EPA Ratification and Other Issues: Questions and Answers, Joyce Van-Genderen Naar

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Answers to questions posed by Havelock Brewwster in his comment. It is not known how many of the 15 CARIFORUM states and how many of the 27 EU states have ratified the EPA. The EPA has been traditionally applied, but it is not known when it will come into force.

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The CARIFORUM–EC EPA Two Years Later, Joyce van Genderen-Naar and Anthony Morgan

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This update discusses the current state of play regarding the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the CARIFORUM (CF)States and the EU, referred to as CF EC EPA. It aims to address the following questions: What has been done thus far and how can both EU and CF representatives demonstrate a stronger commitment to providing public access to information concerning EPA-related developments? It shows that there is a serious public information deficit regarding the EPA and its implementation…

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Was Cariforum wise in rushing into a ‘Full’ EPA? Norman Girvan

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Recent news on the stalemate in the EPA negotiations in Southern Africa raises fresh questions about the wisdom of Cariforum countries in rushing to sign on to a ‘Full’ EPA with Europe in October 2008…


Public Procurement: The Development Dimension and the EPA, Norman Girvan

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Public Procurement links the issues of good governance and of economic development.The current preoccupation with eliminating corruption and securing best value for taxpayers’ money should not be allowed to obscure the equally important role of public procurement in fostering new industries and development of technological capabilities…

Click here for Pioneering Procurement

Click here for Public Procurement: The Development Dimension and The EPA (slide presentation)

The CIGI-CaPRI Paper on the CARIFORUM EPA: A Comment, Norman Girvan

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The paper finds that the economic effects of the EPA on the countries studied,  ”will likely be minimal, despite the fierce opposition to and criticism of the EPA”. But it fails to address the substantive concerns raised by the critics.

Click here,  ,  for comments by Norman and Havelock Brewster

Download CIGI-CaPRI Paper,  (PDF file)

The Kelsey Report: Services and Investment in the CARIFORUM-EC-EPA, Norman Girvan

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Dr Jane Kelsey, Professor of Law at the University of Auckland and a leading international authority on trade in services agreements, has conducted an exhaustive study of Legal Provisions on Services and Investment in the CARIFORUM-EC EPA. The eleven-chapter, 111-page study, now published by the South Centre, indentifies five principal categories of legal risk in the EPA: (i) asymmetry in favour of the EU; (ii) the unpredictable and unlimited multiplier effect of most-favoured nation and ‘regional preference’ obligations; (iii) an externally imposed regional integration model; (iv) closure of policy space; (v) complexity, uncertainty and a heightened risk of errors with no structured opportunity to correct them.

The main recommendation for Cariforum States is to utilise the Joint Declaration of the Parties on the Signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement, to be conducted pursuant to Article 5 of the EPA, which the author states is ‘the only formal opportunity to address the concerns raised,   in the report’. For Non-Cariforum States, especially in the ACP grouping, the main recommendation is they ‘should assert their right not to negotiate an agreement with the EU on services and investment’.

The publication of the Kelsey Report provides an opportunity to broaden current exchanges over the EPA in the Caribbean beyond the issue of implementation of the agreement. Given the scope and extent of the legal risks identified, it would be appropriate for the legal and other academic community, trade officials, the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders to examine the EPA text critically with a view to assessing the implications and detemining the modifications necessary to make the Agreement more in line with Cariforum/Caricom circumstances and interests. This is all the more important, in that services and investment form part of the CARICOM/Canada FTA and negotiations on these subjects are due to commence soon. Further, we are nearly two years into the period allowed for the mandatory review, and adequate preparation in support of the Caricom/Cariforum case needs to be made.

Read the Kelsey/South Centre Report

West Africa’s EPA Development Programme: Lessons for the Caribbean, Norman Girvan

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West African nations have proposed a Development Programme as the framework for their EPA negotiations with Europe. There may be a lesson here for us in the Caribbean…

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Gender Effects of EPAs in Jamaica, Africa

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Gender Justice in Trade Policy: The gender effects of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)

One World Action and the Commonwealth Secretariat recently published the report: Gender Justice in Trade Policy: The gender effects of Economic Partnership Agreements [1]. Based on the goods tariff liberalisation schedules agreed in Jamaica, Tanzania and Mozambique, this research provides the first detailed economy-wide analysis of the likely gender effects of EPAs…

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Jamaica Case Study

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