Jamaica says trade more than just EPA

KINGSTON, Jamaica, August 28, 2008 – Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Trade Dr Kenneth Baugh has suggested that while the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe has been receiving much attention in recent months, the country should also be positioning itself to do deal with trade outside that deal.

He said Jamaica should be aiming to implement all trade arrangements whether under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), or with Canada.

“The implementation of the EPA must therefore be undertaken within the framework aimed at developing our capacity to participate more effectively in the international trade in goods and services,” Dr Baugh said during parliamentary debate on the EPA which was negotiated between CARIFORUM – CARICOM and the Dominican Republic – and the European Union.

He added that the country must focus on the production of high quality goods and services and on the need to improve sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade and its intellectual property framework.

Dr Baugh also said it is critical for a holistic approach to be adopted in the implementation of the EPA and all other trade agreements in the context of Jamaica’s National Development Plan, (Vision 2030) and the National Export Strategy.

The Minister also noted that work is currently underway to identify the gaps in existing trade related development projects, and establish areas, which will require development support.
“We have to look to a coordinated approach to utilising all donor resources in our effort to build our trade capacity. We, however, are conscious of the distinct role of the EU in providing development support (mainly grant aid) over many years,” Dr Baugh said.

A release from the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) said that as a result of the agreement, it is expected that sustainable growth will be enhanced; production and supply capacity increased; and structural processing and economic diversification of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, promoted, while supporting regional integration.