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September 13, 2013

The Establishment of the Antigua & Barbuda EPA Implementation Unit

15-Nov-2010

On October 15th, 2008, Antigua and Barbuda along with fourteen 14 other CARIFORUM countries signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU), marking the end of preferential market access of commodities into Europe and the introduction of reciprocal trading arrangement for goods and services between the two parties.

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 initiatives;
  • enhancing supply capacity competitiveness; and
  • strengthening existing relations between the CARICOM & the EU.

Against this background, the Cabinet, in October 2009, agreed to establish a dedicated Unit for the implementation of the EPA Agreement within the Office of the National Authorizing Officer (NAO) within the Ministry of Finance, Economy and Public Administration. With financial support from the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund) managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Antigua and Barbuda EPA Implementation Unit commenced its operations on November 2nd, 2010. The Unit is specifically tasked with the responsibility of managing and coordinating the implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA at the national level.

The core responsibilities of the Unit are to:

  • disseminate and articulating the provisions of the Agreement to the public;
  • ensure that the public and private sector have the capacity to fully utilize the benefits of the Agreement;
  • advise the Government on how to address constraints and accelerate implementation, while informing of the progress on the regional and national level;
  • measure the impact of the agreement on the local economy and;
  • coordinate any action that may be required to implement the Agreement.

 

The first task to be undertaken by the Unit is to engage in consultations with public and private stakeholders, as well as the Regional EPA Implementation Unit, to assess the implementation needs and develop a work programme.

The EPA Implementation Unit is comprised of

  • Head of Unit, Ambassador Dr. Clarence Henry;
  • National Implementation Coordinator, Ms. Barbara Williams and
  • Trade and Customs Officer, Ms. Alana Benjamin.

The Unit is located in the Office of the NAO on the first floor of the John Henry Building on Dickenson Bay Street. Person wishing to interface with members of the unit or to learn more about the provisions of the EPA Agreement can contact the Unit at telephone: (268) 562- 4504 fax (268) 562-4506, email anuepaunit@gmail.com .

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