Caribbean trade expert and Consultant to the Caribbean Council, David Jessop says a new study calls for renewed attention to the trading relations and arrangements with the European Union.
It appears that the full potential of the EU- Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement, the EPA is apparently slipping out of focus and “the publication last month of a report prepared for the European Commission to evaluate the outcomes to date is therefore a valuable reminder and facts-based evidence of the extent to which the fundamentals of the relationship have changed and will probably continue to do so”.
Mr. Jessop says the report reveals that “in 2018 Cariforum exports to the EU stood at €3.9 billion (US$4.7 billion) while exports from the EU were €5.1 billion (US$6.1 billion), resulting in an overall figure “practically the same as the total trade in 2008 at €9.5 billion”.
“It also observes that the average annual growth rate of Cariforum exports to the EU for the decade after the implementation of the EPA was just 2 per cent, while EU exports to Cariforum rose by 4 per cent”.
Mr. Jessop notes that the reports’ “authors make the point that while 18 per cent of Cariforum imports came from the EU in 2007, by 2018 this had fallen to 12 per cent. Indicating a lack of EU commercial interest in the Caribbean and little European awareness of the EPA, they note that over the same decade, Caribbean imports from countries other than the EU grew at a faster rate”.