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Johnson Smith heads to Brussels for meeting on CARIFORUM-EU EPA

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has travelled to Brussels, Belgium to participate in the 4th Meeting of the CARIFORUM-European Union (EU) Joint Council, under the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

During the meeting, CARIFORUM and EU will address issues related to the effective implementation of the EPA including, trade in goods and the reduction of tariffs, which is now at the fourth phase as of January 2017.

Importantly, the joint council will also examine the market access impediments to the expansion of CARIFORUM 's services exports to the EU, particularly entertainment services.

“Whilst I will indicate Jamaica's progress toward the ratification of the EPA, I will also reiterate CARIFORUM's request for the establishment of a special trade-in-services committee, as we seek to secure opportunities for trade and investment in the services sectors which are increasingly important to growth in our economies,” explained Johnson Smith.

Other issues on the agenda are the development of an EPA-monitoring-framework; the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the EU (BREXIT) and ACP-EU relations post the expiration of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement in 2020.

As a member of the Bureau, Johnson Smith agreed to chair the Preparatory Meeting of CARIFORUM Ministers on Thursday and to be the lead spokesperson for CARIFORUM at the Council Meeting on Friday.

The minister will be supported by a three-member delegation, which includes staff from the Embassy in Brussels and Headquarters.

The CARIFORUM-EU Joint Council, which is the highest decision-making body under the EPA, was established following the 2008 signing of the EPA between CARIFORUM and the EU. It meets biennially to review, assess and take decisions aimed at advancing EPA implementation. The Council last met in Georgetown, Guyana in July 2015.