Addressing the Caribbean Export Development Agency in Kingston on Friday, Orus-Baguena, made it clear to regional representatives that "the European Union cannot make the EPA work for you; it is for you to make the EPA beneficial."
He confirmed that 33 Jamaican companies are set to to benefit from one million US dollars in grant funding, from the EU, to boost their export potential.
The allocation is part of a US$4 million support provided to the region’s private sector by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, under its Direct Assistance Grant Scheme and funded by the EU.
The EU representative said, "the mere fact that Caribbean companies can benefit from these direct assistance grant schemes it proof that funding is available for entities that need assistance in various forms of trade transition."
Becoming more competitive
The funds disbursed will be used to make the local companies more competitive in the areas manufacturing and agro processing.
"It is proof that despite the tough economic times that we still live in, the European Union is prepared to assist developing countries in their quest for ways out of the crisis," he said, adding that the agreement "must be seen as a driver for change and much needed reforms."
He disclosed that the EU has earmarked 110 million euros for help in implementation of the EPA in the region, and urged businesses to take up the funding to improve their operations and export to Europe.
He said part of the mandate of the EPA is to help create an environment in which trade can spur growth and development.
The EPA was signed by the EU and CARIFORUM countries in 2008, opening up the EU to free trade in goods and services from the Caribbean.
- GUYANA | EU, UK, US call for “mature election campaign”
- BRITAIN | Brexit extension: how much will it actually cost the UK to leave the EU?
- Negotiations Launched for CARIFORUM Regional Protocol
- CARICOM | Shifting EU Goalposts Demand Unified Regional Response
- CARICOM | EU’s shifting tax requirements encroaching on CARICOM’s sovereignty says SG