Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNBS): Minister of International Trade et al., the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas along with Permanent Secretary Jasemin Weekes traversed to Barbados for the October 11 to 12, 2022 Joint CARIFORUM – EU Ministerial Meeting.
In his remarks at the meeting, Minister Douglas stated that the subject of de-risking policies on global banks continues to be a threat to the region’s economies and called for timely solutions.
“For small open economies such as ours where international transaction flows play a critical role in our economic development, a complete closure or near closure to the international financial payment system would have crippling effects on our economies,” he said. “…I trust that as we can uncover timely solutions as we collaborate on issues of mutual interest. We look forward to some balance between these regulatory de-risking regimes and the ability of our customers to conduct their businesses in a more seamless way. It is time that we put an end to this global de-risking phenomenon that has undesirably affected certain classes of business, customers, and jurisdictions in the Caribbean.”
The purpose of the meeting was to witness the launch of a new framework for EU-CARIFORUM cooperations that is outlined in the Caribbean Regional Multi-Annual Indicative Program and to offer political direction for CARIFORUM-EU cooperation and upcoming flag ship initiatives.
The meeting of CARIFORUM Ministers and EU Commissioner, Jutta Urpilainen, resulted in candid and vigorous discussions with achievable results. The Post Cotonou Agreement established goals for the Caribbean that consider the region’s unique characteristics and the small economies’ inherent susceptibility to outside shocks. Promotion of commerce and development, as well as the shift to a sustainable and diverse economy that fosters growth and quality jobs, were a few of these goals.
As a member of CARIFORUM, St. Kitts and Nevis continues to receive finances from many EU-funded initiatives, such as the 11th EDF, which will expire at the end of 2022 and be replaced by the Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). The discussion of this new avenue for development collaboration was a top priority.
Since the signing of the first LOME Agreement, the region has had a steady engagement with the European Union.
The Cotonou Agreement will be replaced as a source of development aid to CARIFORUM by the cooperation agreement between the European Union and the members of the Organization of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) Post Cotonou Agreement. The Agreement’s overarching goal is to fortify political alliances in order to produce outcomes that are advantageous to both parties.