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September 13, 2013

Attendance at the OECS and CARIFORUM Meetings on the Implementation of the Services, Investment and E-Commerce

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The implementation of the services and investment provisions of the EPA agreement was brought into focus with two consecutive meetings at the Bay Gardens Hotel St. Lucia from June 14th – 17th, 2011.

The first meeting which concluded on June 15th, 2011 reviewed the report emanating out of a consultancy which was funded by the OECS Secretariat with support of the Regional EPA Implementation Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat with funding from the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) to undertake a review of the investment, trade in services and e-commerce provisions of the EPA to assess conformity with domestic regulations. The meeting discussed the report from the consultancy conducted by Dr. Kathy-Ann Brown in the first half of 2011, with a view to achieve consensus on possible projects to address legislative gaps relevant to the EPA agreement, and to identify technical errors in the services schedule of the OECS countries.

Additionally, the meeting also assessed the initial and final OECS Harmonised Scheduled of Commitments for the CARICOM-Canada negotiations, and the development of an OECS position for negotiating the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in the World Trade Agreements (WTO).

The country’s delegation to the meeting included Barbara Williams, EPA Implementation Coordinator and Catherine Williams, Parliamentary Council Ministry of Legal Affairs.

The second meeting was held on June 16th – 17th 2011, CARIFORUM countries discussed the development of a comprehensive national and regional programme for the implementation of the services, investment and e-commerce provisions of the EPA. The primary objectives of the workshop were to, identify activities needed to be undertaken to implement the obligations of the agreement, draft national work plans and refine the regional work plan for services. It is expected that the outcomes of the meeting will not only provide a status update on the implementation of the services and investment provisions to the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in July 2011, but also provide an analysis of the implementation needs of the signatory CARIFORUM states. Another key outcome of the meeting was to develop broad project areas at the national and regional level to access the development provisions of the EPA.

The country was represented by Barbara Williams, EPA Implementation Coordinator from the EPA Implementation Unit, Ministry of Finance, the Economy and Public Administration.

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