About the Agreement

The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) is based on trade and economic cooperation and was negotiated under the principles of the Cotonou Agreement . As a result, this Agreement seeks to re-establish the trading relationship of the states of European Union and African Caribbean Pacific (ACP), while it seeks to achieve development-orientated goals. Antigua & Barbuda and the other CARICOM Member States along with Dominican Republic were grouped as CARIFORUM for the negotiations and implementation of the Agreement.

On December 16th, 2007, The CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was concluded after three years of negotiations between CARIFORUM and the European Union – then termed as the European Community (EC).

As of October 15th, 2008, Antigua and Barbuda, along with other CARIFORUM Member States, signed the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), marking the end of preferential market access of regional commodities into Europe and the introduction of comprehensive trade and development agreement.

The EPA was ratified by the parliament of Antigua & Barbuda on December 15th, 2008. However, the entire Agreement does not entry into force until the first day of the month after ALL 15 CARIFORUM Member States as well as 27 EU Member States notified of the completion of legislative and administrative changes to meet the obligations of the Agreement. This means most obligations and timelines do not become legally binding until entry into force or until otherwise explicitly stated in the Agreement.

The EPA is aimed at:

  • providing improved market access for goods and services in favour of the CARIFORUM countries;
  • promoting deeper regional integration;
  • improving capacity in trade and trade-related issues, such as government procurement, intellectual property, trade facilitation and competition policy;
  • supporting the conditions for increasing investment and private sector initiative;
  • enhancing supply capacity competitiveness; and
  • strengthening existing relations between the CARICOM & the EU.