Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 11, 2019 (SKNIS): The Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, in collaboration with CARIFORUM Secretariat, hosted a workshop on the importance of CARIFORUM member states having market access and market presence under the European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
The workshop took place at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel on July 09, 2019.
During the conference, Minister of International Trade, Industry and Commerce, the Honourable Lindsay Grant, spoke about the Caribbean already having market access but noted that a greater presence is needed in the European market. He stated that during the five-year review of the EPA, “we have not really transitioned market access into market presence.”
“The [EPA] agreement has given certain assurances, but we have not been able to access the European market as we ought to have been able to access it,” the minister said.
Minister Grant also commented on the importance of the workshop, saying that it serves to educate various stakeholders on how to make their presence felt on the European market.
According to the minister, there is indeed a market presence in relation to goods, however, he stated “where we are lacking is in the services.”
Mr. Grant went on to say that, “There’s a lot of potential, so we have to make sure that we capitalize on that potential and opportunities that are available.”
Minister Grant indicated that about seventy percent of the gross domestic product [GDP] of St. Kitts and Nevis is related to services. He stated that, “Service is a huge opportunity [with] lots of potential, but we need to make sure now that we impart that knowledge to the stakeholders…[and ensure that they] are able not only to have the market access but have the market presence.”
Stakeholders at the workshop included individuals from culture, music and the architecture industries.