Another Successful Consultation on the EPA

On the 18th Aprill 2012 the SVG EPA Implementation Unit held final consultation in the three-pronged Consultation Series launched in September 2011. The consultation focused on Trade Related Issues (TRI), with special reference to Innovation, Competitiveness and Intellectual Property in the EPA and the interests of St Vincent and the Grenadines in those issues. Consideration of the possible Gender Impact of the EPA was also part of the proceedings.

The consultation was a collaborative undertaking of the EPA Implementation Unit within the CARIFORUM Directorate of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines EPA Implementation Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Consumer Affairs. It brought together over 65 technocrats/experts, representatives of the public and private sectors (including industry groups), as well as representatives of organizations of civil society, including the academic community, and social and economic partners.

The consultation was geared towards sensitizing stakeholders and to elaborate practical issues of implementation of the EPA. The participants heard from the regional experts on provision and the opportunities in the EPA in relation to the Innovation and Competitiveness. It was recognized that, given our challenges, these provision becomes very relevant for small states as a survival tool.  The local presenters added their practical experiences and challenged participants to be innovative in order to ensure they become or remain competitive. The Gender experts reminded participants the trade arrangements affect men and women differently and the implementation of the EPA should be viewed through “gender lenses”.

The Consultation was funded under the 9th European Development Fund (EDF), Caribbean Integration Support Programme (CISP). It is also made possible by UKaid from the Department for International Development, through the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund). The Consultation, as with some others before it, is also made possible through the generous support of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.