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Friday, October 20, 2006 

The EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements): Mythical and Unbalanced options between the E.U and the Caribbean
There are clear options to balance when it comes to the prospects liaised with the European Union’s EPAs and how this process could impact upon any comprehensive development approach for the Caribbean. In the words of the Jamaican Foreign Affairs Minister:

We are concerned that (EU) negotiators are extremely focused on market access for the EU with little attention to market building or the development component of the EPAs," Jamaican Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Anthony Hylton said.

“Development must remain the priority,” he told a conference on the talks which were launched nearly four years ago and are now homing in on core details ahead of an en-2007 deadline.

As it seems more than apparent, and to rejoin these many concerns, any agreement or framework between a large market such as the E.U, and small economies will always frame some slippery slopes vis-à-vis the sustainability behind such mechanism, and the kinda deficits it can bring on weaker partners, as they try to weigh policy options to tackle free-market dynamics.

Despite the fact that the DOHA ‘Development’ talks have been on a stand-still, the E.U is still pushing forward negotiations for the EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements). And in the lights of these perspectives, we have to acknowledge that negotiation terms have been clearly unbalanced with huge disparities in the distribution of negotiating powers. And for the Caribbean, the proposed configurations to address trading capacities, market access to E.U are antagonistic measures that will set asymmetries to attain certain goals and objectives for regional cooperation/integration, and viable national plannings for development purposes.

For the future, these are clear concerns, given the fact that such established directives will strongly impede upon the process of regionalization by altering the harmonization of rules between CARIFORUM members, and intra-ACP trade.

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