Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 26, 2019 (MITICCA): Lindsay Grant, Minister with responsibility for International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, confirmed that St.Kitts and Nevis was among nine Caribbean countries which have signed an agreement to preserve existing preferential trade terms between their countries and the United Kingdom in a Post-Brexit era. The countries who signed were Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines . The remaining member states committed to completing their domestic procedures after which they will in turn sign the Agreement.This symbolic occasion took place in Castries, St Lucia, from March 21-22, at the 25th CARIFORUM Council of Ministers held at the Harbor Club Hotel. Minister Grant expressed his satisfaction that after months of negotiations with UK Trade Team and Senior Government Trade Officials in the region, ably led by the CARIFORUM Directorate and the Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN), the technical work had now materialised and yielded a mutually beneficial Agreement.
He indicated that “engagements over the past months sought to ensure a post Brexit Agreement that would have rolled over the terms of the CARIFORUM /EU Economic Partnership Agreement. He explained that the new Agreement would therefore cover trade in goods, trade in services and trade-related issues such as Intellectual Property Rights. He also confirmed that “this agreement is very much in line with his Government‟s mandate of ensuring that trade remains a viable engine of growth.” Minister Grant stressed that “The European Union (EU), remains an important trade partner for St.Kitts and Nevis and our CARIFORUM Colleagues and will remain in place. He used the opportunity to call on entrepreneurs and other players in the private sector to explore opportunities within this framework, even as we seek to improve implementation. The EPA is the Trade and Development partnership signed in 2008 by the 15 states of CARIFORUM and the EU’s 28 countries. The goal is to make it easier for people and businesses from the two regions to invest in and trade with each other, and to spur development across the Caribbean.