Economic Partnership Agreement to continue for 2 years if Britain exits EU


If Britain discontinues its membership with the European Union, countries will still be able to enjoy benefits under the Economic Partnership Agreement for two years.


This was disclosed on Tuesday when members of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) met with Minister James Duddridge MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


“On the question of the future of the Economic Partnership Agreement if Britain discontinued its membership of the European Union, Minister Duddridge assured the Executives that current arrangements would continue unchanged for at least two years” a statement from the PSC said today.


A vote by a majority in Britain in the upcoming (June 23) referendum to exit the European Union is seen as a major threat to economies worldwide.


EPAs are trade and development agreements between regional groups of ACP (American, Caribbean and Pacific) countries and the EU covering trade in goods and services, investment, trade related issues like innovation and intellectual property as well as links to development cooperation. The EPA was signed in October 2008 by 14 CARIFORUM countries, including Guyana, and the 27 EU member states and the European Community.


Britain, the United States, and Canada were the destinations for about two-thirds of Guyana’s officially recorded exports.


The Minister was on a brief visit to Guyana and requested a meeting with the Private Sector Commission.  He was accompanied by British High Commissioner, Greg Quinn.


Also discussed at the meeting was matters relating to taxation and unemployment in Guyana and growth of the country’s economy in the context of its enormous potential and natural resources.


The PSC Executives also commended the British Government for their assistance in the realm of security and expressed the hope that their assistance would be continued.


With respect to the matter of Guyana’s future oil and gas industry, the PSC expressed confidence that steps would be taken to prevent ‘Dutch Disease’ whereby other industries were neglected in favour of the oil sector.


Minister Duddridge’s visit was the first by a Minister of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office since 2002.


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