CARIFORUM-UK ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT (EPA)
On December 30, 2020, Dr. the Honorable Ashni Singh, MP, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, signed and issued a Ministerial Order that gives effect to the CARIFORUM-UK EPA. The UK formally exited the EU on January 31st, 2020 but was on a transition that would end on December 31st 2020. Since then trade between CARIFORUM states and the UK has been governed by the CARIFORUM-EU EPA. However, as of December 31st 2020 the CARIFORUM-EU EPA will cease to apply to trade between CARIFORUM states and the UK. The Ministerial Order therefore brings into effect, from January 1st 2021, the CARIFORUM-UK EPA which will serve as the fundamental mechanism that ensures continuity in the existing preferential trading and investment relations and facilitate uninterrupted market access and other EPA benefits for CARIFORUM states in trade with the UK.
The CARIFORUM-UK EPA is a roll-over agreement from the CARIFORUM-EU EPA as it replicates all relevant sections of the existing EPA with necessary technical and administrative changes to make the agreement operable in a CARIFORUM-UK context.
The EPA is of economic importance to Guyana’s private sector considering that the UK is Guyana’s largest trading partner in Europe and sixth largest trading partner overall. It accounts for 2.1% of imports, 8.8% of all exports and is an important market for exports of Sugar, Rice and Rum. At the regional level, the UK is the largest trading partner for CARIFORUM. It absorbs 25% of exports from the region.