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CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

The EPA was signed on October 15 2008 by the European Community and the following members of CARIFORUM: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago. Guyana later signed on October 20, 2008. Haiti signed the Agreement on December 11 2009. The Agreement will officially enter into force pending the completion of the process of ratification by the member states. However, until then CARIFORUM and Europe will provisionally apply the EPA. Through provisional application, the European Community and the signatory CARIFORUM States will be able to benefit from the terms of the Agreement.

Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and The European Community have notified the completion of the procedures necessary for provisional application of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the CARIFORUM States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part (1), in accordance with Article 243 of that Agreement. Consequently the Agreement applies provisionally from 29 December 2008.

The EPA was created through an intense negotiating process which was undertaken within four (4) stages over a period of three years. Phase IV of the negotiating process or the finalization process, which led to the ultimate conclusion of the EPA negotiation in December 2007, was preceded by the critical Phase III of the negotiation process. Launched in September 2005, Phase III of the EPA negotiations underwent a qualitative shift in focus and specificity. Building on Phase I and Phase II discussions which focused on regional integration content, processes and ambition within CARIFORUM, Phase III constituted the structuring and consolidation of negotiations, so that the points of common understanding could be channeled into elements of the EPA Agreement. This Phase continued until the later part of 2006. What follows takes stock of the background of EPA negotiations and the importance of the EPA to CARIFORUM.  

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