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London forum to promote Caricom trade with EU

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The Barbados-based Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), in partnership with the European Union (EU) and the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Business Climate, will be holding a forum in London, England, in July, aimed at helping businesses capitalise on the Caribbean's free-trade agreement with Europe.

The second Caribbean Forum (Cariforum) EU Business Forum will be held under the theme "Making the Cariforum-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Work".

The organisers said the main objectives of the forum include creating awareness about the EPA that was signed between the EU and Cariforum countries in October 2008.

The forum will also seek to promote business opportunities within sectors that are readily positioned to do business in the EU.

Caribbean Export executive director Pamela Coke-Hamilton said what she wants to see is increased investment in the Caribbean and for the region to see this as a new frontier they can enter and not be intimidated. 

"It is wide open; there are potential niche markets in France, in the diasporic market, in the African diaspora. There are investments in the Netherlands, Holland. So I think we need to take the time to develop the relationships, and that is why the business breakfasts are so important.

"Once we have those, we will start the matching or pairing up of businesses with investors, so at the end of the day, they will see something tangible," she said.

The plan involves pushing the uniqueness of the region and the diversity of its goods and services. This will be done through a focus on "nurturing our world-class brands, telling our unique stories and creating memorable experiences worth sharing".

"We have decided to utilise this forum through a series of meetings and business breakfasts with various private sector entities and business people, distributors, networks, matchmaking and the EU market, looking at joint-venture partnerships. We will be going to France, Germany and London," she added.

—CMC

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