The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade spearheaded the launch of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Standby Facility for Capacity Building Projects for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday May 10th, 2022 at the NIS Conference Room.
Under the 11th Economic Development Fund (EDF), the Standby Facility is ‘a EUR 8.75 million resource managed by Caribbean Development Bank (CBD) which offers opportunities to 15 Caribbean economies to grow trade, deepen integration and economic involvement, impact competitiveness, market access and exports by implementing targeted projects in thematic areas.’
The grant of just over $714,000 EC and additional counterpart funds of approximately $360,000 EC to be provided by the Government of St. Vincent, will finance the two projects that are expected to broaden the knowledge base and formalize the scope of operations for exportable service providers, making them more viable for entry to CARIFORUM and EU markets; and develop a new framework for standardization of Livestock production and trade.
In her address, Senator the Hon. Keisal Peters Minister of State with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade outlined how the target areas were chosen for this initiative indicating that “following the launch of the Standby Facilities, the Ministry commenced consultation with key stakeholders to identify implementation gaps in the EPA and CSME arrangements and measures that could be used to enhance benefits for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
The stakeholders included the Ministry of Agriculture, IICA, the SVG Bureau of Standards, the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the National Qualifications Department.
Speaking of the EU’s continued commitment to addressing the various impediments to trade within CARIFORUM states, Regional Cooperation and Trade Support team leader at the European Union (EU) Delegation in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Felipe de la Mota said that “both projects aim to significantly contribute to building economic resilience and fostering inclusive sustainable growth in the country.”
He further stated that “this Economic Partnership Agreement which was signed in 2008 goes beyond a typical trade agreement that provides duty free and quota free access to the EU markets but it also contains commitments on trade in services, investment, trading related issues such as competition policy procurement, IP rights and as well sustainable development aspects.”
The National Standardisation and Certification of Exportable Services Providers is expected to target musical and community cultural performers, spa operators, household domestics and security guards, and will be implemented by the Ministry of Education.
The Food Safety Certification System for Livestock Production and Trade in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and seeks to improve stakeholder’s ability to meet international trade and, sanitary and phytosanitary requirements.