During the 2017 edition of the European Commission’s event European Development Days (EDD) held on June 7-8 in Brussels, Belgium saw the participation of CARICOM’s agency Caribbean Export Development Agency as part of those considered to be the “best of investing in development”. Caribbean Export showcased their export development work to the 8,000 participants that passed through the event over the two days.
“Our participation at EDD 2017 at this level has been a worthwhile investment. Not only from a visibility point of view but more importantly it has enabled us to contribute significantly to the conversation around the EPA. And how the region’s private sector is able to maximize the opportunities especially being a part of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) group” – said the Executive Director of Caribbean Export, Pamela Coke-Hamilton.
Boosting ACP Investment
Coke-Hamilton participated in key debates ensuring that the Caribbean’s position was heard amongst key stakeholders in the world of development. In the session titled “Boosting Investment for ACP Inclusive Trade and Development”, Coke-Hamilton called for stronger trade linkages between the Caribbean and Africa, for better synergy between the two regions.
“We want to promote trade as THE mechanism to deliver real economic results for our companies, their workers and for our consumers. As such we should look toward strengthening trade between us as a means to achieve this” – said the Executive Director.
Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)
In addition, Caribbean Export participated in a debate organised by the European Commission entitled “Building on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Opportunities” to share the experience of the CARIFORUM private sector in leveraging the opportunities under the EPA. The debate noted that EPAs help by stimulating competition and reducing border delays. But in order to exploit them to their fullest, it is encouraged that ACP countries take ownership of their development and design their own strategies for growth and prosperity.
The Agency also highlighted their work under the recently concluded 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Private Sector Development Programme. At their booth space, they presented a small sample of unique products from the region at the event which received a phenomenal response from the attending audience. Sweet potato granola produced by Rainforest Foods in Saint Lucia was particularly attractive and loved by visitors to the stand.
Caribbean Export is encouraged by the positive feedback from the EDD attendees and remains committed to continuing its support to regional companies and BSOs so that they can utilize the benefits of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA.