Provisional implementation of the Agreement under Article 243 began on 29 December 2008, after Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the European Community have informed the Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union of the conclusion of the necessary procedures for the provisional implementation of the economic partnership agreement between the Cariforum States and the States of Cariforum. European Community. The creation of a reciprocal trade agreement puts the EU at the forefront of how to reconcile the ACP Group`s special status with the EU`s WTO commitments. The near-solution solution to this dilemma is an agreement that is reciprocal only in the way necessary to meet wto criteria. In reality, ACP countries will have some leeway and maintain limited protection of their key products. The extent to which trade should be liberalised under the new EPAs remains a highly controversial issue and it remains to be seen whether the WTO provisions governing regional trade agreements will be revised at the end of the Doha Round in favour of the EPA system. The EPA includes a free trade agreement (FTA) that opens up trade in goods between the two regions. Unlike other free trade agreements, the EPA supports their development through trade: it is more than a free trade agreement that contains a strong development component, with clear links with development aid for the adaptation and modernization of Cariforum economies. In 2000, the European Union and 78 ACP countries, including 15 Caribbean states, signed the Cotonou Agreement. CARICOM`s relations with the EU are governed by this agreement.
The Cotonou agreement has a term of twenty years and contains a clause authorizing its revision every five years. All CARICOM members, with the exception of Montserrat, have signed and ratified the Cotonou Agreement. Lomé IV`s non-reciprocal trade preferences will continue to be applied during a transitional period (2000-2007). Article 37 of the Cotonou Agreement also provided for the negotiation of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). The EPAs will replace the trade chapters of the Cotonou agreement. This recent CIGI contribution to Caribbean economic policy examines the likely effects of the EPA between Caribbean countries and the European Union (EU) after decades of agreements guaranteeing preferential markets and prices for Caribbean exports. In this document, the economic impact on the countries studied – Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia – is likely to be minimal, despite strong opposition and criticism of the EPA when it was adopted in October 2008, as it predicts it will be catastrophic for the Caribbean economy. The document stresses that, in order to fully benefit from the EPA, Caribbean countries must pursue plans for the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME).
The EPA can therefore create the framework for the Caribbean to compete in a liberalized global economy. Haiti signed the agreement in December 2009, but does not implement it until it is ratified. The Cariforum-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is a permanent instrument of the CARIFORUM-CE trade partnership. It replaces the commercial component of Lomé IV and its successor Cotonou (2000). The document indicated that the effects would be marginal, unlike this dissent, which argued that the agreement would have a profoundly negative impact on the region`s economy. Customs revenues will decrease as a result of the reduction in import taxes on European products, but in a minimal way. More importantly, the EPA will only benefit within the framework of the CSME. The successful implementation of the CSME would lead to regional, rather national, productive activities, so that all economies, regardless of size, could benefit from EPAs.