I must confess to being conflicted by the news that Schengen visa requirements are soon to be lifted for four Caricom countries.. Like many others who have had to apply for a Schengen visa for even the shortest of visits, I find the procedures onerous, intrusive and demeaning. So I cannot but be happy for those citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados and St. Kitts and Nevis who will henceforth not be required to endure them if they wish to travel to Schengen zone countries.
One the other hand, I wonder whether the measure is not a further step towards the establishment of of first and second class citizens, and even of first and second class countries, within Caricom…
Also in Stabroek News, June 1, 2009
The Resolution of 5 February 2009 states that EPAs should incorporate a 5-year revision clause and stronger monitoring and evaluation provisions.
Click here for the Resolution
‘The Fork in the Road’
Presentation at ILO/CCL Roundtable, Barbados, June 24, 2008
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Keynote Address at CPDC/FITUN Caribbean Regional Forum, UWI Campus, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, June 12, 2008 (Revised)
From before the EPAs were initialled a great deal of concern had been expressed that ACP countries were being the agreements being negotiated fell far short of the satisfying the Cotonou mandate to support sustainable development and regional integration. The view commonly expressed was that ACP countries were being, in effect, coerced by the EC into signing agreements to meet an artificially imposed deadline; and that these agreements that had much more to do with the EC’s global trade agenda than with the interests of ACP countries...
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Presentation at Public Forum held at the Norman Manley Law School, UWI Mona Campus, May 2, 2008.
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Presentation at Civil Society Forum on the EPA held in Kingston, May 1, 2008
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Memorandum submitted to the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on 27 February 2008 proposing renegoitation of the EPA (Revised 23/03/08)
Click here for text of the memorandum
Response by the CRNM to ‘Renegotiate the EPA’
Article 19 of the Cariforum-EC EPA commits Cariforum to grant Europe the same treatment it grants to any ‘major trading economy’ in subsequent free trade agreements; defined as a country or group of countries that accounts for more than 1 percent or 1.5 percent respectively of world merchandise exports. It is believed that the ‘Interim’ EPAs signed with several African and Pacific states contain a similar provision.
This concession would, apply, to future trade agreements made with, developing countries, such as China (8.2 percent of world merchandise exports), Brazil (1.14) and India (1.00), and with, the MERCOSUR group (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, 1.53 percent). , In a statement to the WTO’s General Council, Brazil has argued that the EPA MFN, clause is inconsistent with the GATT-WTO provisions for Special and Differential Treatment to developing countries and will inhibit South-South trade.
Posted below are the text of the relevant clause of Cariforum-EC EPA (Article 19),, the text of, Brazil’s statement, and a comment by David Jessop, trade writer.
Article 19 of the CARIFORUM-EC EPA
Brazil’s Statement to the WTO of February 4, 2008
Most Favoured Nation concession a danger for the Caribbean – David Jessop Jamaica Gleaner, 14/03/08
The EPA’s Contentious ‘Most Favoured Nation’ Clause
The Cariforum-EU Economic Partnership Agreement has stimulated a very spirited, if belated, debate in the Caribbean on its merits, demerits, and the possible consequences for the region. We have learnt much about the technical aspects of the EPA, and what is at stake for the Caribbean..some writers have drawn attention to some of the broader aspects of the issue which might facilitate a better understanding of the attitudes, expectations, and actions of both sets of negotiators…
Signed by over 100 Caribbean citizens from all walks of life
We note with interest the recent statement by President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana in which he observed that the Caribbean stands to gain little from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) recently negotiated with Europe. .
Click here for text and signatures.
Sent to Caricom Heads of Government by academics Havelock Brewster and Norman Girvan, busineseman James Moss-Solomon and civil society activist Judith Wedderburn, November 14, 2007
We are using this medium to appeal to the authorities to make available for public discussion the Draft Agreement on the EPA. We believe that it will have far-reaching and lasting consequences for the development prospects of the region and for the livelihoods of thousands of citizens…
For each ACP country, this document summarises the ratification process including in particular whether competencies for entry into EPAs by the ACP countries lie at national level or regional level; and the process that must be followed in each case.
Download ‘EPA Ratification Procedures’