Approximately seventy (70) Saint Lucian manufacturers, service providers, and representatives from various agencies and government ministries attended a CARIFORUM-UK EPA Conference hosted by Export Saint Lucia and the British High Commission on January 31st, 2023.
Saint Lucia and the United Kingdom share a long trading history, with the most recent development being the adoption of the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Under the EPA, traders are afforded various benefits, including quota-free and duty-free access to the UK market.
Like many other policy documents, the EPA is a technical document, and its contents can be confusing for ordinary businesspeople. Therefore, the conference was used as a forum to distil the information and present the most relevant components to the local business community.
“Conditions are favourable for a range of products such as agri-produce, rums, condiments, and our services exports to be traded with the United Kingdom. We expect that through the efforts of local agencies, the continued excellence of our manufacturers and service providers, and the access afforded under the CARIFORUM-UK EPA, our exports will grow exponentially. The platform exists; the will exists; now the rest is up to us,” shared Export Saint Lucia’s CEO Sunita Daniel during the recent conference.
Presentations were led by Sherry-Ann Blackett and Dan Hart from the UK Department of International Trade (DIT). Resident British High Commissioner Lesley Saunderson was responsible for coordinating their attendance. “We are so pleased to partner with Export Saint Lucia on the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement here, where was signed in 2019. While St Lucia and the UK already have a strong trade relationship, we are sure there is more to gain from the EPA. Today our aim is to illustrate the value and potential of the EPA, allowing duty-free access for goods and services. It is a tool with strong potential for companies and for economic growth and prosperity,” said Saunderson.
The CARIFORUM-UK EPA was established to provide favourable trading opportunities for CARIFORUM member states following the UK’s departure from the European Union. Saint Lucian manufacturers and service providers are expected to enjoy similar trading opportunities with the post-Brexit UK.
SOURCE: Export Saint Lucia