The Economic Partnership Agreement (“EPA”) between the European Union (“EU”) and the Caribbean Forum (“CARIFORUM”) was signed by 27 EU member states and 14 CARIFORUM states in 2008. It was designed with a development component for the purpose of opening and enhancing trade between the Caribbean & the EU with the agreement encompassing the trade in goods, services and investment.

This article, the first in a series highlighting the opportunities within the EPA, will discuss the provisions relating to the cultural/creative industries. The two key elements of the EPA pertaining to the cultural and creative sectors are (i) the services chapters of the EPA which provides market access for entertainment services and (ii) the Protocol on Cultural Cooperation.

The EPA is the first trade agreement of its kind to allow for the level of market access obtained under entertainment services.  The services chapter of the agreement provides market access for firms and professionals in terms of cross border trade, investment, consumption abroad and the temporary movement of persons. Under the EPA, temporary entry for up to 6 months is granted to entertainment service providers. Although market entry is subject to qualification requirements and economic needs tests, the temporary movement of persons provides CARIFORUM service providers with a competitive edge in the European market.  

The Protocol on Cultural Cooperation which is based on the UNESCO Convention also provides a number of opportunities for the cultural and creative industries.  The key elements of the Protocol can be divided into three components namely; (i) exchanges, training and collaborations, (ii) the temporary movement of persons which pertains to the movement of artists, other cultural professionals and practitioners and (iii) audio-visual services. The provisions for technical assistance, cultural exchange and training under the Protocol, create opportunities for technology transfer; increase in the number of skilled personnel; and the generation of more marketing and distribution channels.   The most notable accomplishment of the Protocol however, is with respect the audio-visual sector. Articles 5 & 6 of the Protocol permit co-productions between CARIFORUM & EU producers.  In addition, works co-produced in accordance with the framework of the agreement will qualify as European works. This provision allows for CARIFORUM producers not only access to additional funding for projects, but also easier access into the European market.   

For more information on the Economic Partnership Agreement contact BELTRAIDE