Caribbean Political Economy

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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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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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…


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.

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Download CIGI-CaPRI Paper,  (PDF file)

Transforming the Barbados Economy in the Age of Liberalisation, Owen Arthur

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Lecture to the Young Economists Association, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, February 25, 2010

I suppose that one of the requirements to be a former Prime Minister is that you should be seldom seen, and seldom heard. I fully intend to meet those requirements. Sometimes, however, there will be developments in our public affairs about which it will be difficult to speak, but impossible to remain silent...

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Haiti EPA signing ‘sell-out of population’: National Coalition

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The STOP EPA National Coalition strongly protests the signing of the EPA on December 10th (International Day of Human Rights) by the new Préval / Bellerive government and calls on Haitian parliamentarians to speak out against the EPA and to reject its ratification, which would mean the death of the Haitian economy…

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Developmental Implications of the CARIFORUM-EC EPA, Third World Network

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This 75-page paper begins with an analysis of the disadvantages of free trade agreements compared to multilateral trade agreements; and continues with a critique of the CARIFORUM-EC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) through a detailed examination of the chapters on Trade in Goods, Services, Investment, Competition policy, Governmment Procurement, Intelellectual Property and Dispute Settlement.

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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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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

Reflections on the Cariforum-EC EPA

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by Clive Thomas

This paper offers basically from a CARICOM perspective, a strategic appraisal of the external trade policy changes encapsulated in the CARIFORUM-EC, Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). This has been recognised as the first “full and comprehensive” EPA among the six that are being negotiated by the European Commission, (EC) and the African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) group of countries. At this point, the EPA is both a legal agreement and an instrument designed to promote specified development objectives. Ultimately, its strengths, weaknesses, as well as the opportunities it will create and the threats it will face, will unfold during its implementation. How this is actualized will be a principal determinant of its success in attaining those objectives.

The first Section contrasts key forecasted long-run benefits of the EPA with front-loaded implementation costs that are already occurring in the Region. Section II assesses why this is the case. Section III comments on the EU assistance commitments in the Agreement. Section IV assesses the consultations process in CARICOM during the negotiations and draws attention to some important issues of economic governance. The final Section (V) considers a number of contextual and related issues important for the future of the Region under the EPA.

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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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EPA Lessons and Canadian FTA, Norman Girvan

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Presentation at Caribbean Diplomatic Training Programme for Mid-Career Diplomats, Georgetown, Guyana, May 22, 2009

  • EPA Criticisms
  • Strategic Lessons
  • EPA Review Clause
  • Canadian FTA,  

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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.

EPA Lessons: The Forfeiture of the Sugar Protocol, Clive Thomas

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‘Guyana and the Wider World’, Stabroek News, Sunday May 17, 2008

The ACP’s forfeiting of the SP was the end product of one of the most cynical and self-serving manoeuvres by the EC. Its execution was brilliant, as judged by the behaviour of Caribbean states with which I am familiar. Almost without exception they were far too willing to accept the EC’s interpretation of what the SP constituted, as well as their own economic conditions, needs and priorities, in the face of startling evidence to the contrary. The SP was forfeited to facilitate the EC inspired, EPAs…

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EU Development Funding for Cariforum 2008-2013

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Regional and Country Strategy Papers ,  and Indicative Programmes, 2008-2013.

The EU Regional Strategy for the period 2008-2013 covered by the 10th EDF is based on the policy agenda of CARIFORUM States, the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement (hereinafter “Cotonou Agreement”), the EU Communication on the Caribbean of 2 March 2006 and the related Council Conclusions, as well the statement of European Union (EU) Development Policy of 20 December 2005. It is also based on the CARIFORUM-EC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) is financed through an allocation of €165 million for 10th European Development Fund (EDF) regional programming over a six-year period starting in 2008…

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Regional Strategy Paper and Regional Indicative Programme

Country Strategy Papers and National Indicative Programmes: Click below for:

Antigua and Barbuda





Dominican Republic





St Kitts and Nevis

St Lucia

St Vincent and the Grenadines


Trinidad and Tobago

Intra-ACP Programme

The above sourced from

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EU provides record grant funding to CARICOM countries in 2010

Development Component of the Cariforum EPA, European Parliament

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Study prepared for the European Parliament by a team from ODI, ECDPM and CAPRI

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…

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Also available at this link


Caricom-Canada FTA: What’s the hurry? Norman Girvan

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There are several reasons to question the widsom of rushing to conclude an FTA with Canada at this time.

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Caricom-Canada FTA: A Premature Trade Decision Anthony Gomes

EPA: ‘The Dawn of a New Era’? by Clive Thomas

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Excerpt from a forthcoming book: ” A First Look at the Political Economy of North South Partnership Agreements: The CARIFORUM-EC, EPA.”

A speech proclaiming that the signing of the EPA is ” The Dawn of a New Era’ reveals several of the key flaws in the Agreement..


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