Caribbean entrepreneurs and business people have been urged to work energetically towards using available opportunities including those under the EPA signed between the CARIFORUM countries and the European Community. This advice came from Mrs. Pamela Coke Hamilton, Caribbean Export’s Executive Director, during the official launch of the 10th EDF, RPSDP at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Barbados. “While we differ and debate about the pros and cons of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and the European Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), other regional groupings are moving ahead at a rapid pace to conclude agreements with the EU and to utilize those agreements as a springboard for penetration of the EU markets”, Mrs. Pamela Coke Hamilton told the gathering of regional business people and officials of regional and local organizations that attended the launch. Mrs. Coke Hamilton pointed out the fund would be used to enhance competitiveness and promote innovation. She stressed the need to encourage innovation and creativity and pointed to places like China where non-traditional methods were being used to stimulate and cultivate creativity and innovation. “The concept of innovation continues to present challenges in terms of definition and scope” and pointed out that the region’s education systems tended to actively discourage independent thought, and reward compliance with the status quo. “As small island states it will be our ability to be innovative and creative that will provide [that] extra edge… we cannot compete on volume but we can compete on ideas and creativity, that is not limited by size,” Mrs. Coke Hamilton said. She noted that Caribbean Export was aware of the need to maintain its relevance, adding that it was the change in global reality in the international trading arena that must inform the repositioning of Caribbean Export as it seeks to assist the regions’ economies in areas of trade, productivity and investment.
Opportunities under the EPA