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EU promises funds for building capacity

Published: 
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, left, greets director general of Cariforum at the Caricom Secretariat Percival Marie, following a forum at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, on Monday. Looking on is head of the Delegation of the European Union, T&T, Arend Biesebroek, right. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR

The European Union (EU) continues to increase its funding for T&T and the rest of the region, said EU Ambassador to T&T, Arend Biesebroek.

“For the period 2014 to 2020, 346 million euros have been set aside for co-operation with the region. Three main areas have been identified for the EU and Cariforum to work together, which include regional economic integration, climate change, environmental disaster management and sustainable energy,” he said.

Biesebroek spoke on Monday at a workshop on capacity building within Cariforum states at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain.

Some of the areas that the capacity building workshop covered included public procurement, customs, trade facilitation which are all geared towards supporting the implementation of the Cariforum-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

The EPA was signed between Cariforum states and the EU in 2008 and aims to help develop the region by allowing goods and services from the region to enter the EU at preferential rates. “In order to maximise the benefits from the EPA and exploit the opportunities it offers for trade and employment creation, countries need to have the capacity to deal with competition issues, ensure that public procurement is efficient, and is keeping with international standards. This is what this programme was about. I understand that the results of the programme are impressive,” he said.

Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, who also spoke at the event, said T&T’s Government is focused on maximising the benefits and opportunities under the EPA and that the workshop has helped.

She also said that the EPA aims to promote trade, investment and growth between the EU and the Cariforum states in an effort to enhance sustainable growth, employment and development.

“Capacity building in key areas such as customs, and trade facilitation, procurement and competition are critical to enable T&T to fully exploit the opportunities afforded by the EPA. Under these areas, significant work is being done by the Government that will assist in bringing T&T’s regulations into compliance with the EPA,” she said.

RAPHAEL JOHN-LALL