Caribbean business leaders gather in Jamaica to tackle EPA implementation

KINGSTON, Jamaica – On May 21, 2009 the Caribbean Council, in partnership with the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce, will host a free one day conference at the Hilton Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica on the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in the Caribbean.

The mounting of the conference was mandated by the July 2008 UK-Caribbean Ministerial Forum, when the UK and CARICOM Governments agreed to support a major conference to provide an opportunity for business across the Cariforum region to discuss the implementation of the EPA.

The invitation-only conference will explore in a practical way:

• how the EPA will be implemented by both Europe and the Caribbean;
• the levels of development support that will become available;
• the nature of the regional, national and external bodies that will govern its implementation; and
• the ways in which the private sector might benefit.

It will offer an unusual opportunity to expose regional and European thinking on the EPA in a manner that will enable those in the private sector to learn what practically will be on offer and when, to support Caribbean private sector competitiveness.

It is especially timely due to the recession as many Caribbean Governments and the private sector now see the EPA’s development dimensions as offering the opportunity in the short term to use the EU and EU member states’ development assistance to prepare for the global economic upturn when it comes.

The conference will be chaired by Dame Billie Miller, Former Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados and former Lead CARICOM Ministerial Spokesperson on EPAs.

The keynote address will be delivered by the Hon Bruce Golding, the Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Among those due to address the conference are Dr Marshall Hall; Ambassador Lorne T McDonnough, Chief Executive Officer of the CARICOM Regional Development Fund; Elizabeth Carriere, Head of the UK Department for International Development Caribbean; and Omar Azan, President of the Jamaica Manufacturers Association.

The conference will engage participants in several interactive panel discussions led by Nigel John, President of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce, David Jessop, Executive Director, The Caribbean Council, Earl Jarrett, General Manager of the Jamaica National Building Society, and Mr John Caloghirou, European Commission, Head Relations with the countries and the region of the Caribbean. The panel chairs will lead discussions about what the private sector wants, the support available from the European Institutions, and the status of implementation at both regional and national levels.

Invited participants include senior executives from large Caribbean companies and intermediate bodies, including banks, accounting firms; bodies representative of SMEs; Industry Trade Associations; Employer Associations; regional sectoral organisations and regional Chambers of Commerce.

The conference which is being facilitated by the Jamaican Government and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is being delivered by the Caribbean Council in partnership with the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce. Jamaica National Building Society is the Strategic Business Partner of the conference, which is also supported by: Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association: Jamaica Manufacturers Association; Jamaica Chamber of Commerce; Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica; Jamaica Chamber of Commerce; Jamaica Exporters Association; The Association of Caribbean Media Workers; The Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Association of Jamaica; Jamaica Trade and Invest; and the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives, amongst others.

Exit mobile version