EPA and CSME Standby Facilities For Capacity Building Approved Projects

Antigua & Barbuda

Enhancing Private Sector Competitiveness Through the Implementation of the CARIFORUM- EU EPA
Antigua and Barbuda has made significant progress with the implementation of their trading regime, however there is still need to support the country’s implementation of the European Partnership Agreement.

This project, funded through a grant from the EPA Standby Facility totalling USD234,255, will see the drafting of the necessary enabling legislation for the EPA and the improvements required to the policy environment that are needed by the services sector. The project will be implemented by the Office of the National Authorising Officer for European Development Fund (EDP) & EPA implementation of the Ministry of Trade, Commerce & Industry, Sports, Culture & National festivals.

Once completed, the results will be a more enabling environment for trade and investment between Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of CARIFORUM and the EU, and the development of a more coordinated and strategic approach to developing Antigua and Barbuda’s Services Sector.

To ensure the maximum reach in the community of the legislation and policies coming out of the project, a structured communications strategy targeted and geared towards specific audiences will be developed.

Strengthening the Private Sector Participation in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy

This is a project being implemented by the Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Industry, Sports and National Festivals with a USD275,602 grant from the CSME Standby Facility.

When completed this project will result in the Increased export-readiness of participating enterprises in the agro-processing, and arts and crafts sectors; and improved access by the agro-processing, and arts and crafts sectors to business development support services from the local Business Service Organisations.

The significant outcomes of the project will be:

  • A three-year Arts and Craft Sector Baseline Study and Action Plan.
  • A three-year Agro-Processing Sector Development Action Plan.
  • Business development support services delivered to participating arts and craft producers.
  • Business development support services delivered to participating agro-processors; and
  • Training and hands-on support delivered to Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Industry, Sports and National Festivals (MTCI’s) staff, local BSOs/trade support organisations, and sector associations to increase their capacity to deliver value-added business development services to the arts and craft and agro-processing sectors and drive the implementation of the 3-year Arts and Craft Sector Baseline Study and Action Plan; and 3-year Agro-Processing Sector Development Action Plan beyond the Project

The Bahamas

Institutional Strengthening for EPA Implementation in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas
The primary goals of this project are the improvement of the implementation of the European Partnership Agreement within The Bahamas, and the establishment of a National Quality Infrastructure to enable EPA implementation. The total funding for the project under the EPA Standby Facility is USD129,045. Under the project, the National EPA Implementation Unit staff and other key stakeholders will be trained and sensitised to coordinate and implement the EPA; tools will be developed and implemented to monitor and report on EPA implementation; and the government of The Bahamas will develop a National Quality Policy. This project is being implemented by The Bahamas Ministry of Financial Services.
The Bahamas Trade Information Service and Virtual Marketplace
The Bahamas Trade Information Services and Virtual Market Place will directly build on ongoing efforts by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) to establish a regional Market Intelligence Database and Web Reporting Portal. The project is funded under the CSME Standby Facility for Capacity Building through a grant in the amount of USD275,220 and will be implemented by The Bahamas Ministry of Financial Services. The Bahamas Trade Information Services and Virtual Market Place will also reduce a major risk that has complicated the establishment of the CEDA Portal – the availability of and access to data on the CARICOM member countries’ markets. The project is also designed to assist in the provision of timely access to reliable data on trade within the CARICOM member countries.

Barbados

Enhancing the Export Capacity of Cultural Entrepreneurs in Barbados
This project has received USD128,074 in grant funding from the EPA Standby Facility for Capacity Building and will be executed by the Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority. In Barbados, the cultural industries have been identified as having a high potential for growth, with the possibility of reducing the country’s susceptibility to external economic shocks. The development of these industries is expected to contribute to employment creation (particularly among women and the youth), tourism diversification, and poverty reduction goals. Several Barbadian artistes perform worldwide and their music is sold online. There are over 200 art galleries in Barbados and at least two pottery making enterprises export pottery to markets in the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom. An economic impact assessment commissioned by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and carried out by the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies showed that for the period 2005-2007, Barbados’ Crop Over Festival contributed some USD120,000,000 to the Barbados economy and created some 2,930 jobs. More recently, the development and staging of the Barbados Food and Rum Festival which is now covered by international media showcases Barbadian chefs and mix masters along with specially invited international chefs. To improve the competitiveness, export-readiness and level of exports of the cultural industries, the Government of Barbados is providing technical assistance to improve the business management, technical production, marketing capacity, and by extension, export-readiness of cultural enterprises in the Fashion Design and Visual Arts industries; and to improve the business support services offered to cultural entrepreneurs. Because of this project, Gender-Sensitive Industry Profiles and Action Plans to guide the development of the Fashion Design and Visual Arts Industries will be produced and a Capacity-Building Programme for Cultural Entrepreneurs/Enterprises in the Visual Arts and Fashion Industries, with equal shares for women and men will be developed. In addition, cultural service providers, support organisations, women’s business organisations and key stakeholders will be sensitised on the export market opportunities and initiatives to improve entrepreneurs’ capacity to take advantage of these opportunities will be created as well as a capacity-building programme for cultural Business Service Organisations.
Enhancement of Food Safety and Quality Infrastructure in the Condiments Sub-Sector of Barbados
The Barbados Investment Development Corporation (BIDC), implementing agency for the Food Safety and Condiment project, promotes the sustainable development of the manufacturing, industrial and small business sectors in the country. The BIDC also implements the Barbados Government’s incentive programme for industry, and offers free advisory services for local companies looking to become established or to expand operations. This project, funded by a grant from the CSME Standby Facility of USD162,212, is designed to increase compliance with food safety standards along the condiments supply chain, and to enhance the capacity of the Government of Barbados to make sure that exports of condiments comply with food safety requirements. The primary components of the project are a design study on the financial and operational requirements for the establishment of a shared-use facility to be used for the storage of condiments prior to export, and the development of a strategy for the assurance of food safety and the implementation of a quality infrastructure for the condiments sub-sector.

Belize

Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure of Belize
The National Export Strategy and Action Plan 2015-19 of Belize calls for stimulating the expansion of exports and building capacity of exporters and support institutions to penetrate and diversify markets and products. Under the European Union-funded Belize Rural Development Project, a new state-of- the-art meteorology laboratory is being constructed for the Belize Bureau of Standards. Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure of Belize, an EPA Standby Facility project with funding of USD121,149 will assist in developing a Quality Management System for the meteorology lab meeting the ISO standards for accreditation. As part of the project, the staff of the Bureau of Standards will receive training and assistance in the steps needed to acquire accreditation for the laboratory and to develop the Quality Management System.
Enhancing the Resilience of the Citrus Sector: Accreditation of The Citrus Research and Educational Institute (CREI) Laboratory and ISO 9001:2008 Certification for the Plant World Nursery
The citrus industry is the most significant agro-industry in Belize and in terms of its share of exports from the country is second only to petroleum in terms of share of domestic exports. In 2014 65% of the exports of citrus concentrate (the primary product of the citrus industry) went to the European Union and CARIFORUM (the 15 Caribbean Community states, along with the Dominican Republic). The per capita value of citrus production in Belize is US181, the highest of any country, which explains the high national dependency on the crop. The Citrus Research and Educational Institute (CREI), a part of the Citrus Growers Association is focused on increasing citrus production through improved grove nutrition; providing healthy and improved citrus planting material to the citrus industry; providing of information and training to citrus growers and the general public while monitoring and controlling pests and diseases; improving grove management practices, and working to transform the citrus juice industry into a tropical fruit juice industry. The Plant World Nursery was established in 2013 to complement the existing nursery capacity and the services and programmes offered by the Institute. The goals of the USD95,403 Enhancing the Resilience of the Citrus Sector: Accreditation of the CREI Laboratory and ISO 9001:2008 Certification for the Plant World Nursery Project with a grant from the EPA Standby Facility are to improve the access to affordable and accredited testing services by Belize citrus growers, and to establish a Quality Management System for the Plant World Nursery that that meets the requirements for ISO 9001 certification. During the course of the project, compliant Quality Management System documentation for ISO/IEC 17025 requirements will be developed for the CREI laboratory; the Institute staff will be sensitised on their roles in the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation process; the CREI’s laboratory personnel will be provided with technical training relevant to improving quality management practices and increasing compliance with ISO/IEC 17025 requirements, and training and technical guidance will be delivered to the management and staff of the Plant World Nursery on implementing ISO 9001.

Dominica

Enhancing Dominica’s Trading Environment and Export Capacity
This USD228,843 project with funding from the CSME Standby Facility is being implemented by the Dominica Ministry of Trade, Energy and Employment. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas calls for Member States of CARICOM to establish a regulatory framework that addresses issues such as standards, unsafe goods and unfair contract terms which will provide for greater consumer protection. Consumer protection contributes to sustainable economic development in three main ways. Firstly, safe products and standards reduce health costs to the nation and contribute to the well-being and reliability of the entire workforce and therefore economic productivity. When firms commit to adhere to consumer protection policies, product development or innovation increases competition through satisfying consumer needs, rather than by lowering the quality of their products and, consumer protection policies educate and empower consumers. The implementation of a consumer protection regime informed by regional and international standards in Dominica will result in a more successful integration into global markets. Once completed, this project will lead to an approved consumer protection policy and action plan; the drafting of legislation for consumer protection and the delivery of training to the staff of the Consumer Affairs Unit and other relevant institutions.
Building Capacity for Effective Consumer Protection in Dominica
This USD228,659 EPA Standby Facility project, also being implemented by the Ministry of Trade, Energy and Employment, has been designed to increase the pace of EPA implementation by those agencies with responsibility of implementation, and to upgrade food safety standards and management systems in selected enterprises. Improving the country’s export performance is critical for Dominica’s growth and increasing international competitiveness is a major challenge if Dominica is to succeed in the global economic environment. Eco-tourism, agro-industries, niche-focused agriculture, fisheries and water are natural resource-based industries where Dominica enjoys some comparative advantages over its regional neighbours, and which have great potential to generate employment and income-growth opportunities. Dominica has also prioritised the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the EC-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to expand the number of markets for diversified exports. To maximize the use of the EPA to facilitate market access, Dominica requires assistance with the completion of its legislative compliance with the EPA, improving the environment for trade in goods and building the capacity of SMSEs to meet he market access requirements of the EU and CARIFORUM. The major components of the project are the development of training programmes for Customs Brokers, Tariff Clerks and Customs Officials in the use of ASYCUDA World (the Automated System for Customs Data) as well as HS Classification, Customs Valuation, Customs Controls and Rules of Origin for EPA. Training in HACCP (the internationally recognised system for reducing the risk of safety hazards in food) will also be provided to participating food small and medium-sized enterprises, and legislation drafted to facilitate the implementation of the European Partnership Agreement. The project will also see the implementation of a communications strategy designed to keep public and private sector stakeholders and civil society informed of the importance of EPA; the status of EPA implementation, and their roles in moving the EPA implementation process forward.

Dominican Republic

Improving the Dominican Republic’s EPA Implementation Capacity
The project in the Dominican Republic is being implemented by the Directorate of Foreign Trade and International Trade Agreements Administration in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Funding for the project comes in the form of a grant from the EPA Standby Facility in the amount of USD230,108. The Dominican Republic (DR) has traditionally been viewed as an exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, but in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy’s largest employer. The economy is highly dependent upon the United States of America (USA), the destination for more than half of its exports. The EPA Agreement provides the country with the opportunity for increased access to the trade opportunities within the CARIFORUM market as well as the European market. The implementation of the EPA process in the DR is being led by the Directorate of Foreign Trade and International Trade Agreements Administration (DICOEX). While DICOEX is responsible for coordinating, monitoring and implementation of the EPA, the demand for DICOEX’s services exceeds its current capacity. DICOEX staff need to acquire skills in trade negotiations, the use of online trade databases, market access for good and services within the context trade negotiations and intellectual property rights.

Grenada

Enhancing the Capacity of Grenada to Export Fresh Fruit to the EU and CARIFORUM Markets
This USD189,531 project with funding from the CSME Standby Facility is being implemented by the Grenada National Training Agency (NTA) to allow the Government of Grenada to meet its commitment to the regional integration process. Increasing employment opportunities for Grenadians, both nationally and within CSME, is a major priority for Government as it moves to reduce poverty and vulnerability. The agency entrusted with the responsibility for developing and implementing programmes to meet Grenada’s skills development needs is the National Training Agency. This project will assist the NTA in strengthening the boat building and yacht repair sectors of the nation’s economy. The Agency is responsible for administration of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and the awarding of the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) which certifies that the holder has been trained in the field represented by the Qualification. Through this project, the NTA will gain the capacity to issue the CVQ in boatbuilding which will carry with it international recognition.
Enhancing the Capacity of Grenadian Nationals to Take Advantage of CSME
The Government of Grenada has developed a home-grown reform programme aimed at restoring macroeconomic stability in the short-term and sustainable economic growth over the medium-term. The main actions under this programme include h4 fiscal adjustment measures supported by public financial management reforms, and a comprehensive public sector debt restructuring; structural reforms to reduce the cost of doing business; and measures to strengthen the financial system’s stability. Leveraging of international trade agreements such as the EC-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement to increase exports also forms part of this home-grown strategy. Government has embarked on several strategic interventions designed to stimulate growth and investment in the agricultural sector. A major thrust has been the strengthening of the Marketing and National Import Board (MNIB) of Grenada. This project, facilitated by a grant of USD212,625 from the EPA Standby Facility and implemented by the MNIB, will result in the refurbishment of the Board’s pack house at River Road. The packing house, where fresh produce is prepared to meet the requirements of local and export markets, handles more than 150,000 kgs. of fresh fruit monthly including bananas, citrus, plums, avocadoes, callaloo and mangoes. The facility needs refurbishment of the basic infrastructure, and a redesign taking into consideration the need for food safety.

Guyana

Improving Competitiveness in Guyana And Strengthening of SMES to Increase Non-Traditional Exports
The objectives of this project are to increase the capacity of the National Accreditation Council to regulate the delivery of post-secondary educational services critical to improving productivity in the public sector and the competitiveness of the private sector. The project, implemented by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade & International Co-operation, has received USD171,856 under the CSME Standby Facility. It is also designed to position Guyanese nationals to take advantage of the free movement regimes under the CSME, and to facilitate increased local, regional and international investment in Guyana’s education sector.
Institutional Strengthening of the National Accreditation Council (NAC) Of Guyana
This project, also funded from the CSME Standby Facility, is designed to contribute to improving the competitiveness of the private sector and to allow Guyanese nationals (both men and women) to take advantage of the free movement regimes under the CSME. Through the project, which has received USD104,052 in funding, the capacity of the TVET Council will also be improved to boost its capacity to deliver quality TVET services that are accessible to all nationals.
Institutional Strengthening of the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET), Guyana
While producers and service providers in Guyana have participated in regional and international expos and training programmes designed to increase their ability to take advantage of opportunities presented by the EPA, there is a demand for practical assistance to enable them to be more competitive and to increase exports. The USD 226,196 project, with funding from the EPA Standby Facility is being implemented by the Guyana Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The goal of the project is to deliver trade support services to and build the export-readiness of both traditional and emerging industries enabling them to take advantage of trade opportunities under the EPA. These include enterprises in such areas as music, agro-processing, wood-processing and companies involved in mineral-related activities. The Standby Facilities grant will provide for the provision of technical assistance to participating enterprises and business service organisations to facilitate export development, and fund the development of Three-Year Export Development Strategy and Action Plan and Export Development Plans for those enterprises.

Haiti

Enhancing the Capacity of Haiti to Participate in the CSME
The Government of Haiti has placed a priority on becoming more involved in regional trade as it considers this to be an important platform for Haiti to grow, develop and become competitive globally. Because the Government considers its participation in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) to be critically important, it is working to implement its full commitments to the CSME by harmonising its tariff rates to correspond with those under the CARICOM Common External Tariff, pursuing Customs reforms, and implementing the relevant rules of origin. Haiti has also joined the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and established the Bureau Haitien de Normalisation (Bureau of Standards). A major constraint to exports from Haiti and the efficient sourcing of intermediate goods is limited access to trade information. If businesses in Haiti are to take advantage of the expanded market access for goods and services, they need to have access to specific information about the regulations and procedures for exports and imports, and on available trading opportunities and market requirements in CARICOM. The Ministry has recognised that it needs to strengthen its capacity to provide this information as a matter of urgency, and to strengthen its capacity to participate more effectively in councils of CARICOM administering the CSME. Enhancing the Capacity of Haiti to Participate in the CSME is a project with a USD269,599 grant from the CSME Standby Facility. The goals of the project are to increase access to trade information in relation to market requirements and trading opportunities in CARICOM for Haitian firms; to enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to provide trade support services to businesses seeking to export to CARICOM, and to increase the understanding among the Ministry’s staff about the functioning of CARICOM and operations of CSME.
Capacity-Building for Strengthening Haiti’s Quality Infrastructure and Improving Quality Management in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
This EPA Standby Facility-funded project with a grant USD586,370 will assist Haiti in fulfilling its obligations under the Economic Partnership Agreement which require that technical regulations that present unnecessary obstacles to trade are eliminated, and rules are in place that are necessary to protect plant, animal and public health. Although Haiti signed the CARIFOURM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in 2009, implementation has been delayed because of the earthquake that struck in 2010 and factors which have slowed parliamentary decision making since 2012. The executing agency for this project is the Bureau Haitien de Normalisation (BHN). In May 2012, the Government of Haiti launched the Strategic Plan for the Development of Haiti. The plan is intended to define the path the country will take to reverse its situation of under-development and sets out four key strategic pillars: territorial rebuilding, economic rebuilding, social rebuilding and institutional rebuilding. The Economic Rebuilding Programme includes the modernisation of priority sectors, and the building the competitiveness of Haitian firms to facilitate their entry into regional and international markets. In this regard, Haiti is seeking to accelerate its implementation of both the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and the CARIFOURM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). One of the major thrusts to improve the business facilitation environment and to improve the quality infrastructure of Haiti has been the establishment of the Bureau of Standards. The Bureau is charged with providing assistance on standardisation of the quality of goods and services and the promotion of quality and conformity assessment to the government, the private sector and civil society. The planned outcome of the Project is an improved quality infrastructure in Haiti. The planned outputs are the delivery of training to in meteorology operations for the staff of the Bureau of Standards; the sensitisation of key stakeholders sensitised on standardisation including the development of standards; and training for SMEs and local consultants for improving quality management practices and increasing compliance with ISO 9001:2008.

Jamaica

Establishment of the Bureau of Standards Packaging Laboratory
This project, funded by USD273,881 from the CSME Standby Facility, has been designed to upgrade the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) Packaging Centre, which will enable the BSJ to test packaging materials used in industry, verify packaging quality, regulate, and provide technical advisory services on, packaging standards. The project which will be implement by the Bureau, will also aid with the upgrade of the Bureau’s website increasing its capacity to perform the functions of the EPA Focal Point and the World Trade Organisation Technical Barriers to Trade Enquiry Point. Successful implementation of this project will mean an improvement in the delivery of business support services by the Jamaica Bureau of Standards to the Jamaica private sector. The project will also facilitate the implementation of a more coordinated and evidenced-based approach to the development and expansion of Jamaica’s packaging industry.

St. Kitts and Nevis

Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure of St. Kitts And Nevis
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis established the St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS) in 1999 under the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs. The Bureau has responsibility for protecting the environment and health and safety of consumers. Its activities also focus on preparing, promoting and generally adopting standards on for structures, commodities, materials, articles and other items offered to the public commercially. These standards promote standardisation, quality assurance and simplification in industry and commerce. The Bureau also serves as the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) enquiry point for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the European Partnership Agreement. The project, Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure of St. Kitts and Nevis, is to be implemented by the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs and is funded by a grant of USD198,791 from the EPA Standby Facility. The project will result in a Quality Management System documented for selected tests that is compliant with ISO/IEC 17025 requirements and that is developed and introduced to St. Kitts and Nevis’ food testing laboratories along with the sensitisation of the Bureau of Standard’s staff on the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 and their roles in the accreditation process. The laboratory personnel will also be provided with technical training relevant to improving quality management practices and increasing compliance with ISO/IEC 17025 requirements. Technical assistance will be delivered to the Bureau for the establishment of a process for the development of national Standards and key stakeholders will be trained on standardisation including the development of standards.
Enhancing the National Statistical System of St. Kitts And Nevis
As St. Kitts and Nevis continues to move from an economy based on the now-closed sugar industry to a more diverse economy, the demand for statistics becomes critical in the planning and execution of national policies and strategies. The institutional framework for producing statistics has evolved from a small Statistics Department with a staff of two persons to a current staff of nineteen. In the past, compiling external trade statistics was the focus of activity, while government departments provided secondary data. Today, activities of the Department of Statistics (DOS) cover all sectors of the economy and all levels of government. The development of the national statistics system in St. Kitts and Nevis was motivated by the need to develop evidenced-based, multi-data indicators to satisfy the requirements for international development and to monitor the progress towards the achievement of the country’s development goals. The primary objective of the project, funded by a CSME Standby Facility grant of USD257,040, is to build the capacity of the staff of the Department of Statistics and related Ministries to utilise and analyse and trade in services data to inform public policy. As part of the project, a Standard Business Reporting and a SITS database and application will be developed. Additionally, technical assistance will be provided to the department and the Ministry of International Trade to implement material contained in the Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services 2010. To promote the use of statistical products in national policy, a Communications Strategy for the Department of Statistics will also be developed and implemented as part of the project.

Saint Lucia

Developing Saint Lucia’s Services Sector
The Government of Saint Lucia has determined that the nation’s services sector will play an increasingly greater role expansion and diversification of the nation’s export sector The Saint Lucia National Export Development Strategy, implemented in 2004 identified ten priority industries, six of which are service industries. The project Developing Saint Lucia’s Services Sector has received a grant of USD271,866 from the CSME Standby Facility. When completed this project will increase the demand for Saint Lucian goods and services in targeted CARICOM and extra-regional markets; increase the export-readiness of participating service enterprises and improve access to training and other business support services to service providers and enterprises in Saint Lucia and other Organisation for Eastern Caribbean States.
Enhancing Saint Lucia’s Trading Environment and Export Capabilities
In Saint Lucia, there is a need for greater education as well as awareness and capacity building within those key agencies responsible for implementation of the European Partnership Agreement to increase ownership for and commitment to the process, and to make it possible for the private sector to fully take advantage of the opportunities presented in the EPA. There is also support required to ensure that the private has similar capacity. The USD236,271 EPA Standby Facility Project titled Enhancing Saint Lucia’s Trading Environment and Export Capabilities will result in an increased pace of EPA implementation by key EPA responsible agencies; the improved delivery of support services by the Trade and Export Promotion Agency (TEPA), Saint Lucia Manufacturers’ Association (SMA), Saint Lucia Coalition of Service Industries (SLCSI) and other participating organisations to improve the competitiveness and export readiness of Saint Lucia’s enterprises, and the improved export readiness and competitiveness of participating micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in priority sectors relative to the market access requirements for, and competitiveness conditions in three targeted European Union markets. This project will be executed by the Ministry of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation. Among the outcomes expected from the project are legislation drafted to facilitate EPA implementation; An EPA Communications Strategy; participating enterprises and other stakeholders will be sensitised on export opportunities and market access requirements for three targeted EU markets; and a market penetration and capacity building assistance programme will be developed for selected enterprises.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Building Export Capacity and Improving Competitiveness in the Services Sector
A CARCIOM study conducted in 2010 found that the shortage of skilled labour was a major factor in limiting St. Vincent and the Grenadine’s ability to improve the competitiveness of the local private sector as well as a constraint to the expansion of the tourism and construction sectors. In addition, the lack of an institutional infrastructure for issuing the Caribbean Vocational Qualification also prevents citizens of the country from obtaining certification in the expanded categories of skills which would allow them to work in other CARICOM countries. The project, Enhancing the Capacity of St. Vincent and The Grenadines’ Nationals to Take Advantage of CSME, with funding from the CSME Standby Facility of USD212,520, has been designed to enhance the post-secondary quality assurance and TVET certification system in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. As part of this project, a system of accreditation for post-secondary and tertiary institutions in SVG will be established and the capacity of the TVET system to issue the Caribbean Vocational Qualification will be enhanced. Additionally, the ability of the Council for TVET institutions to communicate issues around the Caribbean Vocational Qualification will be improved.
Enhancing the Capacity of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Nationals to Take Advantage of CSME
The economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has been dominated by the service sector which accounts for nearly 50% of GDP. Government is anticipating that the progressive implementation of the EPA will support and promote the increased competitiveness and export-readiness of micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs); the diversification of its services export, and the opening of new markets for agricultural and agro-processed products. Government has requested assistance from the EPA Standby Facility for Capacity Building to support the drafting of outstanding EPA-related legislation, as well as the improvement of the policy environment for and the capacity of the services sector, to enable it to take advantage of the opportunities presented by EPA. The USD235,635 Building Export Capacity and Improving Competitiveness in the Services Sector project, implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Commerce and Regional Integration is the response to that request. This project is designed to lead to a more coordinated and strategic approach to developing SVG’s services sector. It will result in legislation being drafted to facilitate EPA implementation along with the formulation of a results-based Services Sector Strategy, 3-Year Action Plan and Budget that promotes inclusive and gender-responsive growth and reflects consensus and commitment of service sector stakeholders.

Suriname

Feasibility Study for the Technical, Financial and Legal Requirements for the Establishment of an Electronic Single Window Facility
This project, implemented by the Suriname Ministry of Trade and Industry received a grant of USD228,140 from the EPA Standby Facility. The study conducted under this project will determine the technical. Legal and financial requirements for the establishment of an Electronic Single Window in the operation of the country’s The Customs and Excise Division which is taking a quantum leap into the world of technology. The Electronic Single window, recognised as a global best practice, would be linked to the ASYCUDA World platform that is being installed. ASYCUDA or Automated System for Customs Data, is a computerized system designed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to administer a country’s customs operations. The addition of an Electronic Single window would allow Suriname’s customs officials to tie in to ASYSCUDA, and significantly improve the times required for processing of trade applications submitted to that department.
Developing the Export-Readiness of Suriname's Agrifood Enterprises for The CARICOM Market
This project is designed to improve the supply relationships between Suriname-based agricultural exporters and importers and distributors in two targeted CARICOM markets – Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. The project will also lead to an improvement in the delivery of the support services provided by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Suriname Business Forum. The project, to be implemented by the Suriname Ministry of Trade and Industry, has been funded by a grant of USD273,761 from the CSME Standby Facility for Capacity Building, and will also improve the export-readiness of the participating agricultural enterprises relative to the market access requirements of and competitive conditions in the two targeted CARICOM markets – Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. The Suriname Business Forum will select two groups of agricultural enterprises based on their levels of export-readiness. Enterprises that are at a high level of export-readiness with experience in regional or international markets, and agri-food enterprises that are at a lower-level of export-readiness. The second group is to be made up of enterprises established in the domestic market but not yet exporting, as well as young but proven enterprises with internationally appealing products. The participants will include both large and small enterprises, urban and rural-based enterprises; and enterprises owned/managed by both women and men. It is expected that at least 30% of the enterprises in the second group (those with a lower level of export-readiness) will be women-owned/led and approximately 30% will be rural-based MSMEs. At least two of the groups in the first group (higher level of export readiness) will be rural enterprises. As part of the project, a group of consultants will be retained to provide technical assistance on market access, branding, packaging and labelling, and web content development and management.

Trinidad and Tobago

Developing the Export Readiness of Trinidad and Tobago’s Enterprises for the EU Market
This project has received a grant from the EPA Standby Facility for USD233,040 and is being implemented by exportTT, Trinidad and Tobago’s national organisation for facilitating exports. While Trinidad & Tobago has made some progress in executing the EPA, the pace of implementation has been slow. This performance can be attributed to delays in passing requisite legislation and a weak start-up of the Trade Implementation Unit (TIU). In preparing businesses for EU markets, exporTT has focused attention on two main obstacles – an absence of market information and an inability to meet international quality standards. The goal of the project is to support increased exports from Trinidad and Tobago to five non-traditional markets in the European Union. Those markets will be selected from a short-list of countries that include Belgium, France, Germany, The Netherlands, UK, Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia.