Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In keeping with a decision taken at the Third Special Meeting of Heads of State/Government of CARIFORUM on September 10, 2008 The European Community and CARIFORUM have agreed to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The Bahamas will be represented at the signing by The Hon. Brent Symonette, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Joshua Sears, Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All CARICOM countries, with the possible exception of Guyana, are expected to sign the EPA at the official signing in Barbados.

The Economic Partnership Agreement is a trade agreement that provides for more liberal trade between CARIFORUM countries and the European Community. It will progressively allow certain exports from the two regions to enter each other’s territories duty-free and quota free. It also defines how trade in services and investment can take place between the two regions.

While The Bahamas will sign the Agreement on October 15 tomorrow, it will only enjoy benefits on the export of goods until its Services Schedule is added to the Agreement, which must be done within six months of signing.