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CCJ judge urges Caribbean businesses to exploit EPA
More work needs to be done to inform the public on how they can take advantage of benefits the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) can offer the Caribbean region, says Justice Winston Anderson of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). “One of the important things, for me, is the extent to which the EPA has become operational. To what extent have the persons from the Caribbean, business persons, persons in government understand and take advantage of any opportunities there may be under the EPA.
“Under The EPA, there are provisions for us to have access to the market in the EU for our goods and services. We need to know. There will be persons at the CCJ’s seminar speaking on the implementation of the EPA in the region: like what legislation has been passed and what regulation has been put in place and what organisations have been instituted to take advantage of the EPA opportunities,” Anderson said.
The EPA, signed on October 15, 2008, by the European Union (EU) and the members of Cariforum, aims to open markets between the regions on a phased basis. Anderson spoke to the Guardian yesterday at his office at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Henry Street, Port-of-Spain.
The CCJ’s education arm, the Caribbean Academy For Law and Court Administration’s (CALCA) seminar on international law, entitled, World Trade Organisation Law and Policy-Interface with Economic Partnership Agreement, will take place from September 24-28 at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel, Port-of-Spain.
At the seminar, participants will be exposed to concepts in international trade law, the rules governing the establishment and functioning of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the EPA, the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) and issues under the jurisdiction of the CCJ. Anderson said there will be specialists speaking on possible business opportunities under the EPA.
“There will also be a roundtable on business opportunities that exist under the EPA. In what circumstances can a small or medium-sized business enterprise make use of opportunities under the EPA,” Anderson said. “They are hoping to have the export director, Caribbean Export Development Agency, come to speak as to how exporters in the region can take advantage of the opportunities.”
“We open the seminar to many different groups of people and stakeholders. Most of the attendees will be lawyers, judges and others from the legal profession. We also have persons from business, people from government and persons from every Caribbean territory and outside of the region. This is open to anyone who is interested in how these trade regimes operate and how it can affect their lives, businesses and other organisations,” he said.
Anderson said guest speaker PJ Patterson, former prime minister of Jamaica, will help participants understand how the Caribbean region can benefit from its involvement in international trade. “The highlight of the seminar will be PJ Patterson, someone who has been involved for a very long while in negotiations involving the WTO. He will be a leading a special guest lecturer,” Anderson said.
“He will speak on the interface among trade organisations and benefits that we get from participating in the WTO and the EPA. He will give his perspective on how international trade will benefit the region and assist in our economic environment.”
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