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Implementation of EPA one step closer

Implementation of EPA one step closer


The implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is one closer to implementation with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Thursday between the Government and some Business Support Organisations (BSOs).{{more}}

Representatives of Invest SVG, the National Development Foundation (NDF), the Centre for Enterprise Development (CED), Chamber of Commerce, Coalition of Services and Industry and Youth Business SVG and officials of the EPA Implementation Unit signed the accord at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“This is one phase where business organisation in St Vincent and the Grenadines is partnering with the government to ensure that there is a clear understanding on the issues and relationships moving forward as it relates to the implementation of the EPA,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nathaniel Williams said.

He explained that the document covered four areas that defined the type of relationship that needed to be adopted, following the implementation of the EPA.

These, Williams said, included formalizing a relationship between the government and the BSOs represented and the sharing of resources and information.

General Manager of CED Felix Lewis said the country was facing increasing challenges in its trade agreement.

“And in our ability to compete in a global market place,” he said.

He said one of the areas that needed some improvement was in the way that various groups work together to meet these challenges, which he said was the context of the signed MOU.

“It was the bringing together of various agencies to try and rationalize our various roles to make sure that we are efficient in the use of skills and resources when we do our programmes,” Lewis said.

Members of the European Community and CARIFORUM, including St Vincent and the Grenadines, signed the EPA in October 2008.

And according to Okolo John-Patrick of the EPA Implementation Unit, it was now the responsibility of the government authorities to coordinate and monitor the setting up of the EPA.

The unit is also responsible for ensuring that the private sector take advantage of the opportunities under the EPA, she explained. (DD)