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OPENING STATEMENT Mr Peter Thompson, Head of the EU Delegation OPENING OF THE FIRST MEETING OF THE TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT

COMMITTEE UNDER THE CARIFORUM-EU ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT (EPA), BARBADOS, 9-10 JUNE 2011 Thank you Mr Chairman for your introduction. I'm delighted to be here on this lovely island and would like to join you, Chair, in thanking our Barbadian hosts for welcoming us so warmly. I'm also delighted that we've finally been able to convene this first meeting of the Trade and Development Committee. And I'm honoured to represent the EU on this occasion. For those of you who dont know him already, allow me to introduce my colleague John Caloghirou. John is currently Head of the Caribbean Division in the EU's recently-created European External Action Service, or EEAS. I'm also surrounded by colleagues from Brussels and our offices here in the Caribbean. Let me say a few words about the Committee. It is part of a wider process now underway to get the EPA fully off the ground. For me our meeting is the latest in a series of milestones over the last 18 months. As you'll recall, last year: o the Cariforum-EU Joint Council held its inaugural meeting; o the EU Council adopted the Bahamas' outstanding services and investments commitments; o and many Cariforum states set up EPA units and prepared the ground to start dismantling tariffs. And this year has already seen good progress, too: there's been a raft of initiatives to raise awareness amongst Caribbean businesspeople of the EPA's potential benefits for their businesses; and we've made good progress in getting the EPA's

joint institutions up and running this Committee, of course, but also the Joint Parliamentary Committee, of which most, if not all, Cariforum member states have now nominated their members. Two other recent developments in the region also give me solid grounds for optimism. The first is the relationship between the Dominican Republic and its Caricom neighbours. I very much welcome the decisions which I understand Ministers took at their meeting at the end of March I'm sure these will help facilitate progress in the months ahead. We're already seeing concrete proof of that with D-G Ogando's presence here today. I welcome him in his new role and very much look forward to working with him in the months ahead. My second source of optimism is Haiti. For reasons you understand only too well, little progress on implementing the EPA has been made since the country signed in December 2009. But with a new government and parliament in place, I very much hope Haiti will be soon able to ratify the EPA and start fulfilling its commitments. The EU will of course continue to support Haiti's and its neighbours' efforts to 'build back better', to borrow President Bill Clinton's phrase. I believe the EPA has an important part to play in that process. Now, of course there'll be areas in today's and tomorrow's work where things have either failed to move forward as some of us may wish, or where Cariforum and the EU have differing views. This is normal and I trust we'll be able to address these in a businesslike way. One area where I hope we can move forward is monitoring. This is crucial for ensuring the EPA delivers on its development promise. We need to start not just collecting relevant information on the EPA's implementation, but also designing a system to provide relevant, reliable, timely information on its results and its impact. I fully concur with you, Chair, on the list of issues and ambitions which you enumerated just now. We undoubtedly have a long

agenda ahead of us. But I look forward to a fruitful and productive meeting. With that, I'll now be quiet and allow Mr Rosado to steer us through the rest of the meeting.