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New Capacity-Building Project to provide support for CARIFORUM-EU EPA


 (CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)     Key partners involved in a new Capacity-building Project to support effective implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) met in Georgetown, Guyana on 19 January 2015, to chart the way forward.

The Project, valued at €3,099,915, is financed from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (CRIP).  In part,  the project will provide support to CARIFORUM States to implement commitments undertaken with respect to the CARIFORUM-EU EPA, and will help build capacity in all states. The areas identified for capacity building  at the basic, intermediate and tertiary levels are Competition, Public Procurement and Customs and Trade Facilitation.  The project’s  overall objective is to support the beneficial integration of the CARIFORUM States into the world economy.

The meeting of key partners on 19 January brought together representatives of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and Equinoccio Compañía de Comercio Exterior, S.L., the Contractor. The forum presented an opportunity for the  exchange of views on key elements such as  administrative requirements, governance matters, and the work plan, including priorities to shape stakeholder engagement in the short term.

Representatives affirmed that the Project methodology should strive to embed learning outcomes and materials, on a sustainable basis, among academic and other participating institutions in the Region.

Project Manager, Mr. Eugene Petty who is also the Director of Development Cooperation in the CARICOM Secretariat-based CARIFORUM Directorate, called attention to “institutional capacity constraints across the Region which continue to hamper progress in the implementation of obligations under the CARIFORUM-EU EPA.” He informed resources have been set aside to address such constraints and build institutional capacity in the three thematic areas covered by the Project.

The head of Equinoccio’s delegation at the Meeting, Mr. Angel Diez Rubio, in noting the significance of the Project, highlighted the strong commitment of his team to partner with the CARICOM Secretariat for the successful implementation of the capacity-building initiative.

The Director-General of the CARIFORUM Directorate, Mr. Percival Marie, who has overall responsibility for the management of the Project expressed confidence that, given its credentials, Equinoccio and the consortium that the firm represents as the contractor, are well-suited to implement the terms of the consultancy. Mr. Marie also expressed the view that “in light of the project’s provision of significant, targeted capacity-building to a cross section of CARIFORUM stakeholders, it will redound to the benefit of the Region’s development.”

Signed on 13 December 2014, the project has a duration of approximately twenty-seven calendar months and  is being implemented through a service contract, by CARIFORUM, as the Contracting Authority, along with Equinoccio, Compañía de Comercio Exterior, S.L., the Contractor. In the implementation of the project, Equinoccio leads a consortium that comprises: The London School of Economics (LSE) Enterprise, Ltd.; the Maastricht School of Management (MSM); and SGS Netherlands B.V.

Background

SERVICE CONTRACT TITLE: Capacity Building Within the Caribbean Forum of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (CARIFORUM) in the Areas of Competition, Public Procurement, and Customs and Trade Facilitation in support of the Implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

The Project is geared towards conducting capacity-building training of CARIFORUM stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as in agencies with responsibility for the different disciplines within the Region. This training will enhance the human, legal and institutional capacity to enable CARIFORUM States to honour their commitments and attain the objectives of the EPA.

The beneficiary countries are: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The fifteen signatory Caribbean Forum of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (CARIFORUM) to the EPA are the independent CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic.

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Partial Scope Agreement between the Government of Belize and the Republic of Guatemala


The negotiations on the Partial Scope Agreement (PSA), between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of Guatemala, were launched on November 22, 2004. Both countries signed the agreement on 26th June, 2006. In 2009, Belize deposited its Instrument of Ratification to the CARICOM Secretariat and obtained CARICOM’s approval of the Agreement and completed its internal process of ratification that year. Guatemala completed its ratification in March of 2010. With the exchange of information notifying the completion of the internal process in each country, the PSA took effect on 4th April, 2010, thirty days after Guatemala completed its internal process of ratification.

This is Belize’s first negotiated bilateral trade agreement and one which takes into account the obligations to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). This agreement has been seen as an opportunity to enhance trade and commercial relations for both countries.

Currently, Belize has completed the three phases of tariff reductions as outlined in the Tariff Schedules of the Agreement. The main products benefiting from this agreement are: citrus, tilapia, cattle, yellow corn, black beans, red beans, poultry and pepper sauce. This market is expected to offer premium prices relative to world prices. The PSA covers 150 goods, including certain goods under the headings of: animal products; prepared foodstuffs; products of the chemical or allied industries; plastics and articles thereof: rubber and articles thereof; wood and article of wood, wood charcoal; paper and paperboard, articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard; textiles and textiles articles; footwear, gaiter and the like; parts of such articles; glass and glassware; base metals and articles of base metal; and other items.

Continue reading “Partial Scope Agreement between the Government of Belize and the Republic of Guatemala”

Caribbean Export and EU Offers Grants to the Region’s Food Producers


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The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) officially announced the publication of the Special Call for Proposals – Food Safety for CARIFORUM agro- processing firms to receive financial assistance as part of the Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) on May 28, 2014.

The Special Call for Proposals – Food Safety is a reimbursable grant funding facility specifically designed to provide financial assistance to legally registered agro processing firms within the CARIFORUM region who are exporting or have the potential to export their products to the European Union. It is a facility for firms looking for funding to support their capacity building to meet the food production standards of the European Union (EU) market.

While the challenge also exists among the large enterprises in the Region, it is very prevalent among the small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (MSMEs).  The allocation of this funding is hoped to ensure that goods of regional origin are produced under standard quality control conditions to meet the sanitary and regulatory requirements of the EU marketplace (such as HACCP, GAPs , GlobalGAP, ISO 14000, Fair Trade Certification , BRC, QF 1000, Primus GFS etc).

The Agency’s Executive Director, Pamela Coke Hamilton in her address at the launch event of the Call and it’s Food safety Preparedness Programme counterparts stated, ”This call, with a total commitment of US $200,000 seeks to ensure that food and beverage firms produce their goods under standard quality control conditions to meet the sanitary and regulatory requirements of the international marketplace and to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the EPA… Through this special call, we endeavour to increase the number of CARIFORUM agro-processors certified to export to the EU and beyond.”

Under the 10th EDF RPSDP the Agency is offering with this special call for proposal – food safety grants of up to 10,000 euros which represent a maximum of 70% of the total project cost to CARIFORUM based agro-processing firms. Firms that are exporting or demonstrate their potential to export and who meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to apply to this special call for proposal – food safety.

The deadline for this Special Call for Proposals – Food Safety is July 9, 2014 and more information can be found at www.carib-export.com.  Contact: Sam Kruiner, Special Advisor – Export Development (skruiner@carib-export.com) , Caribbean Export Development Agency, Tel: +1(246) 436-0578, Fax: +1(246) 436-9999

Continue reading “Caribbean Export and EU Offers Grants to the Region’s Food Producers”

Caribbean Export Hosts the Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Financial Services


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Bridgetown, Barbados, December 10, 2013. The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in collaboration with The Government of Barbados convened a meeting on the Financial Services sector in CARIFORUM at the Radisson Hotel, Barbados on December 9, 2013.

The meeting of Ministers with responsibility for financial services and key industry professionals was assembled to develop the strategic direction relating to the continued development of the industry, to develop recommendations relating to the governance structure of the regional initiative, and to determine the strategic engagement of the Overseas Countries and Territories in the overall process.

Chaired by The Hon. Donville Inniss, Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Barbados the meeting was convened within the context of the importance of a vibrant financial services industry to the sustained economic development of the region, and the severe challenges facing that industry in light of the global economic crisis.

In particular, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in which the European Union (EU) plays a key role, has continued to express concerns about the status of regional jurisdictions. Moreover, CARIFORUM countries remain cognizant of commitments to cooperate on finance issues outlined in the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) especially as it relates to tax policy and administration.

In the opening address, Minister Inniss noted that the Financial Services is the second largest contributor to GDP in the Caribbean represented by 17% GDP and stressed that “when it comes to IFCs we have no more time to waste.  This sector is way too important to our economies and societies”.

Caribbean International Financial Services Centres (IFCs) have come under increased pressure and scrutiny through a number of developed country led initiatives such as the Foreign Account tax Compliance Act (FATCA), anti-money laundering standards, tax base erosion and profit shifting and exchange of information standards.  Many of these initiatives have been driven by the desire to stem the perceived leakage of tax revenue from developed states to the region. As a result, several countries known as tax havens have had to either shut down their financial centres or implement a number of measures to continue to access bilateral aid.

The Hon. Rudranath Indarsingh Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Economy, Trinidad and Tobago, during his opening remarks stated that despite Trinidad and Tobago’s current dependency on the export of hydrocarbon products, they have “intensified efforts to diversify the economy, identified the financial services industry as an attractive and rewarding venture.   In this regard, Trinidad and Tobago has signaled the re-launching of the International Financial Centre by building a Financial Institutions Support Services (FINeSS) Industry.”  Moreover, “Trinidad and Tobago is working assiduously in finalizing the Model Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) process before December 31, 2013.  Once signed, all Foreign Financial Institutions (FFIs) would automatically be FATCA compliant and included in the appropriate list to be published in December.” Continue reading “Caribbean Export Hosts the Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Financial Services”

Expression of Interest Notice Participate in FIHAV 2013


CE Logo 2013

Invitation to Participate in the Havana International Fair (FIHAV) 2013

Havana, Cuba

3-9 November, 2013

Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), within the framework of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) will be assisting CARIFORUM firms interested in exporting products to the Cuban market in participating in the premier trade fair in Cuba, the Havana International Fair (FIHAV) 2013.

FIHAV began in 1983 and the fair has, through the years, established itself as a significant exhibition with international reach and interest. In this, the 31st edition of the trade fair, FIHAV 2013 will provide more than 20, 000 m2 of exhibition space for approximately 4,500 exhibitors from more than 60 countries. The trade fair is also expected to host about 150,000 visitors. For more information on FIHAV 2013, please visit: http://www.feriahavana.com/index.php?module=default/principal

The trade fair is being organized and promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment of the Republic of Cuba, the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, the Convention Palace and EXPOCUBA. FIHAV is a multi-sector commercial fair with the main industry sectors covered being consumer goods, machinery, equipment, information technology, raw materials and services.

Caribbean Export’s intervention in FIHAV 2013 will focus on creating business opportunities between Cuba and CARIFORUM member states. Additional business linkages may be possible with other participating exhibitors/countries. At the same time, the Agency seeks to provide the necessary discussion platform to allow for the distillation of specific trade-related issues that affect Cuba-CARIFORUM trade. In this regard, Caribbean Export has partnered with the Cuban Chamber of Commerce to execute a Business-to-Business matchmaking session with selected companies.

Scope of Work

Caribbean Export will select businesses from the CARIFORUM Private Sector that have indicated an interest in participating in FIHAV 2013 and whose products are deemed suitable and ready for the Cuban market.  Selected companies will be provided with exhibition space in a booth/stand within the Expo, where goods can be showcased and presented. Also, the beneficiary companies will be able to participate in Business to Business (B2B) Meetings that will be coordinated with Cuban firms. The objective of these meetings is to foster a business-conducive platform that leads to the realization of business opportunities. Participation in FIHAV 2013 is open for application from any CARIFORUM firm that is interested in participating. Continue reading “Expression of Interest Notice Participate in FIHAV 2013”

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