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CARICOM gears up for key EPA meeting
Published on September 25, 2012 Email To Friend    Print Version

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Trinidad and Tobago will, on 27 September 2012, play host to the second meeting of the Trade and Development Committee (TDC) under the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM)-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

A preparatory meeting of CARIFORUM Officials, also to be held in Trinidad and Tobago, will be convened ahead of the TDC.

“The upcoming TDC provides both the CARIFORUM and EU sides the opportunity to address a range of pressing matters ahead of the next meeting of the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council,” said the CARIFORUM coordinator and director-general of the CARIFORUM Directorate, Ivan Ogando Lora.

Matters for discussion at the upcoming TDC relate heavily to trade in goods and trade in services, but other areas covered by the EPA are also on the agenda. These include data protection, public procurement, competition and geographical indications. In addition, the meeting will discuss preparations for monitoring the implementation of the EPA, both the benefits derived and the obligations met, and efforts to establish the Consultative Committee, which will allow civil society groups an opportunity to participate in the implementation of the EPA.

The TDC is the second highest institution of the joint CARIFORUM-EU institutions, which oversee the implementation of the EPA. The committee brings together officials from the CARIFORUM and EU sides and is charged with overseeing implementation of the EPA. It is also mandated with preparing the ground for the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council (JC). The JC is the highest EPA institution and meets at ministerial level. It is vested with responsibility to supervise the implementation of the EPA and has the authority to amend the agreement. The second meeting of the JC will be held in Brussels on 26 October.

In keeping with its rules of procedure, the TDC is chaired alternately for periods of 12 months by senior officials of the European Commission, on behalf of the EU and by senior officials of the CARIFORUM States on behalf of CARIFORUM. The TDC is currently chaired by the EU.

In accordance with the principle of rotation, enshrined in the CARIFORUM rules of procedure, the Dominican Republic assumed the chairmanship of the CARIFORUM regional bloc from 1 July 2012, a position it will hold until 30 June 2013. As a result, an official from the Dominican Republic, Magdalena Estevez, will lead the CARIFORUM side.

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