Caribbean Political Economy

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 ‘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…


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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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…

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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

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

The EU as a global investment partner, Paul Cardwell and Duncan French

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The European Union (EU)’s interest and involvement in foreign direct investment (FDI) is by no means new. However, it has only been comparatively recently that one has been able to begin to distinguish the particularities of a specific EU approach to FDI, especially when placed within a broader developmental context. The approach has been most visible during the ongoing negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) grouping of States…

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EPAS: Environment, Labour and Legal Issues, ICSTD

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The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)* is pleased to alert you to three new papers on key issues related to Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).


Issue Paper 1: Environmental Issues in Economic Partnership AgreementsImplications for Developing Countries”
By Beatrice Chaytor

This paper provides a comprehensive review of all rules related to trade and environment in the final ACP-EU EPAs, as well as proposed provisions in the context of ongoing negotiations. The aim of the paper is to enable ACP countries to understand how trade policy related to the environment has been introduced in EPAs, and how those policies might impact sustainable development in ACP countries. The paper starts by presenting the current European approach on trade and environment in those agreements. More specifically, it addresses the current state of negotiations, analyses precise proposals made, and explores some of the implications of introducing environmental issues in the EPAs.

Issue Paper 2: ” Legal and Systematic Issues in the Interim Economic Partnership Agreements: Which way,   now?
By Cosmas,   Milton Obote Ochieng

This paper provides a legal analysis of systemic issues related to the relationship between the WTO and EPAs, including:

– The application of the Most Favourable Nation clause, Article XXIV of GATT and its relationship with EPAs;
– The effects of the ” standstill” clause on bound or applied tariff rates applied to ACP countries by WTO members;
– The political and legal effects of the ” Non-Execution Clause” in EPAs;
– The articulation of the dispute settlement mechanisms of EPAs and their interactions with the WTO one.

Issue Paper 3: Trade Agreements and their Relation to Labour Standards: The current situation”
By Pablo Lazo Grandi

This study offers a political and legal review of international labour standards in trade agreements, as well as analysis of how these standards have evolved in the international trade arena. The author examines emerging trends in the negotiation of trade and labour standards at the multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade deals. The study aims to offer developing country governments and other relevant stakeholders practical guidelines on how to address these issues in international negotiations with a focus on RTAs, taking into account the experience of countries, such as Chile, that have already negotiated several of those agreements.

*The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) is a non-governmental organization, based in Geneva, which – by empowering stakeholders in trade policy through information, networking, dialogue, well-targeted research, and capacity building – seeks to influence the international trade system such that it advances the goal of sustainable development. For further information on ICTSD’s EPAs and Regionalism Programme, please see:

Updating EPAs, Emily Jones and Darlan F Marti

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Updating Economic Partnership Agreements to Today’s Global Challenges – Essays on the Future of Economic Partnership Agreements. Edited by Emily Jones (Oxford) and Darlan F Marti (UNCTAD). German Marshall Fund Economic Policy Program. 19 November 2009.

African and Pacific countries continue to negotiate the challenging Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union. These new agreements have the potential to help African countries accelerate their economic growth and develop more resi lient economies. However, the presence of negotiating deadlocks or a sense of fatigue as well as the lack of real appetite for these agreements among many African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) negotiators, raise legitimate questions regarding their structure and content, as well as their ability to constitute instruments to leverage economic growth…


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Meaning of Trade in Services Rules, Jane Kelsey

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This section of the toolkit provides a basic guide to the meaning of some key terms and practical examples of what they involve…

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Understanding ‘Trade in Services’, Jane Kelsey

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Traditionally trade means the movement of goods across borders. Free trade rules focused on government measures that restrict the international flow of goods, mainly by taxes (tariffs) at the border, import licenses, quotas, etc…

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Understanding Cariforum’s Commitments in Services and Investment, Jane Kelsey

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The following step-by-step guide is intended to assist people to interpret a country’s trade in services commitments as set out in schedules of commitments to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) at the WTO and under the CARIFORUM-EC EPA..

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Bananas: EU Ditching Fight Against Global Poverty? ACP

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ACP Secretariat Communique, November 23, 2009

At a time when European leaders are gathering to welcome the dawn of a new era with the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty, this change may well prove to be more extensive than anticipated. The coming days could spell the end of the era when Europe considered the fight against poverty a priority. ..

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Disappearance of the ACP from the Lisbon Treaty, Joyce Van Genderen-Naar


The text of the EU Lisbon Treaty omits the reference to the historic relationship and responsibilties of the European Union to the ACP countries that was contained in the previous EU/EC Treaties that it replaces; a development with far-reaching implications for the future relationship between,  Europe and the ACP.

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ACP Sidelined by Europe Again? Sir Ronald Sanders, Caribbean Net News

Implications of the Lisbon Treaty for EU-ACP Relations Presentations from a Workshop

Implications of the Lisbon Treaty for EU Development Cooperation ECDPM Report

Cariforum EPA: ‘The Wrong Train’, Norman Girvan

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Presentation at the Munk Centre, University of Toronto, October 6, 2009

EPA highlights/EPA criticisms/EPA negotiations–Key ‘decision points’/Strategic lessons/Looking forward

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Watch the video of Norman’s and Yash Tandon’s presentations

Special and Differential Treatment in the CARIFORUM EPA

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by Alisa DiCaprio and Silke Trommer

ICSTD Trade Negotiations Insights, Vol. 6, No. 6, August 2009

In ” Tracing the Special and Differential Treatment Principle through the CARIFORUM EPA” Alisa DiCaprio and Silke Trommer ask how well the EPA process preserves the possibility to revert to WTO Special and Differential Treatment clauses. The insights may serve as points of reflection for ongoing negotiations as well as implementation.

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EU Public Procurement and the ACP, Joyce vG-Naar

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joyce-naar1Joyce van Genderen-Naar is a lawyer and journalist from Suriname. She is currently based in Brussels. Email

If ACP experts and companies want to compete with the EU and to have access to the EU Market, they have to know more about the rules and procedures.Frequently asked questions are: how can ACP experts and companies have access to the EU market and compete with EU and other foreign experts and companies; how can ACP SMEs participate in EU consortiums; what is the best way to have access to EU tenders; iIs there a lack of confidence in the ability of our own enterprises and in our own capacity; why do not ACP countries involve their own people and experts more and increase their own capacities in stead of complaining that ACP has no capacity and asking the EU for capacity building and EU consultants to do research and studies in ACP countries? Reports that can only be written with the help of the information of ACP locals who are being used as information and response persons, reports that often are not implemented.

This article discusses EU Public Procurement Procedures with regard to the ACP-EC Cooperation. it shows the importance of Public Procurement for the EU and its Member states and indicates the preferences for ACP-tenders and tenderers provided in the EU-ACP Partnership Agreement and the relevant provisions of the European Development Fund. It sets out in detail the Legislative framework of the EU Public Procurement, eligibility criteria, contract award criteria and principles,procedures, rules, transparency,-Transparency Rates of EU Member States; Obstacles for EU Member States and firms; and other factors conditioning ACP access to EU Public Procurement markets.

Bananas – ‘EU Not A Real Partner’, Joyce vG-Naar

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From Global Watch, April 2009

Joyce van Genderen-Naar

Joyce van Genderen-Naar

The EU will soon conclude with the Latin American Banana producing countries an agreement that will harm the production and export of bananas of ACP-countries. The European Commission proposed on March 12, 2009, that the current tariff of 176 Euros/ton to MFN countries would be reduced by 2011 to 136 Euros/Ton, with a possibility of continuing its reduction to 114 Euros/Ton by 2019…

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Joyce van Genderen-Naar is a lawyer and journalist from Suriname based in Brussels.,   Contact her at Van Genderen – Naar []


Letter of Support from TIYE International

ACP Struggles with EPA & WTO Issues Joyce van Genderen-Naar, July 2008

ACPs challenge tariff cut for Latin American bananas

Ghanaian President criticises EPA

The President, John Evans Atta Mills has criticised certain clauses in the Draft Economic Partnership Agreement claiming it is meant to allow European countries dump their cheap and highly subsidised goods and services on Ghana.

Pacific ACP leaders want EU to address “contentious issues” in EPA


In the Pacific region, only Papua New Guinea and Fiji initialled an Interim EPA mainly to protect their exports of fish and sugar, respectively, into the EU markets.
Don’t sign EPAs – COSATU urges Namibia


THE Congress of South African Trade Unions has urged Namibia to follow South Africa and Angola’s footsteps in refusing to sign the much-debated Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, alleging that the purported agreement has a ‘hidden’ agenda.

Nigeria: Country rejects EPA

Nigeria is not ready to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) aimed to liberalise trade between Africa, the European Union (EU), Carribean and Pacific countries, Minister of Commerce and Indsutry Chief Achike Udenwa said yesterday.

” Independence Means the Capacity to Stand on one’s Feet” Says Sidia Jatta

At the two-day sensitization workshop organised by The Gambia Social Forum on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) for National Assembly Members, Media and the Civil Society Representatives held on the 22-23 April, 2009 at the Corinthian Atlantic Hotel, Hon. Sidia Jatta, the National Assembly Member for Wuli West, gave critical analysis of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) regarding its overwhelming disadvantages and urged The Gambia not to sign it.

COSATU calls for rejection of EU-SADC Partnership Agreement

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is celebrating the rejection of European Union-SADC Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) negotiations by the governments of South Africa and Angola and is mobilising for a political intervention in the whole agreement negotiations.

European Union pushes trade deal on Africa

The signing of a finalized economic partnership agreement (EPA) between the European Union and southern African countries seems imminent-despite regional trade fragmentation remaining a danger.

Bloc warned against signing EPA blindly

East African Community (EAC) member states should not sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (Epa) three months to come unless shortcomings are addressed, local civil society organisations (CSOs) have warned.

Pacific lessons from the Economic Partnership Agreement

A trade deal between the world’s largest economic region, the European Union – and the world’s smallest – the Pacific – was never going to be easy.

West Africa: Don’t Conclude Regional EPA in June 2009 -Gapto

Members of the Ghana Agricultural Producers and Traders Organisation (GAPTO) have called on the governments of the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) not to conclude the Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with European Union (EU) in June, this year.

EU Commission Manufactured African Business Support for EPAs

Internal email communication by DG Trade obtained by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) unveils how the EU Commission has actively orchestrated African business support for its Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. MEPs will vote on the EPA negotiations at their sitting in Strasbourg today and tomorrow.
The East Africa Trade Union Congress (EATUC) has joined groups that want the deadline for the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) between the East Africa Community and the European Commission extended.

Jagdeo calls for freeze on EPA in light of global crisis

Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo believes there should be a delay in implementing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) trade deal with Europe because of challenges created by the global financial crisis.

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