CARIFORUM Member Countries began signing an Agreement with the United Kingdom last Friday, which will govern their trade after the UK leaves the European Union.
Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were the signatories from CARIFORUM, a grouping of CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic. Other Members Countries have signalled their intention to sign in the coming days. Signing on behalf of the UK was the Minister of State for Trade Policy in the Department of International Trade, Hon George Hollingbery.
The Agreement replicates the CARIFORUM/European Union Economic Partnership Agreement, and will ensure continuity of the Region’s preferential trading relationship with the UK post-Brexit. It also repeats commitments on development co-operation to support its implementation and use.
The UK is CARIFORUM’s largest trading partner in the European Union and currently absorbs about 25 percent of the Region’s total exports to Europe. The major exports are bananas, rum, sugar, rice, agro-processed foods and methanol. The UK has also provided guarantees of access to its market for services and investments.
Last Friday’s signing ceremony was part of a two-day meeting of the CARIFORUM Council of Ministers, held in Saint Lucia. The Agreement resulted from two years of dialogue between the UK and CARIFORUM Officials, supported by the CARIFORUM Directorate and the CARICOM Secretariat’s Office of Trade Negotiations.