UK businesses and consumers will benefit from a trade continuity agreement maintaining current arrangements with countries in the Caribbean soon after Britain leaves the EU.
Trade Policy Minister George Hollingbery signed the CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) today (Friday 22 March) with Ministers and representatives from countries including Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The agreement will allow these businesses and many others across the Caribbean to trade like they do now, without any additional barriers or tariffs.
It eliminates all tariffs on all goods imported from the signing CARIFORUM States into the UK, while those Caribbean states will continue gradually to cut import tariffs on most of the region’s imports from the UK.
The UK is an important export market for the Caribbean, and the UK bought 100% of Saint Lucia’s banana exports, as well as 69% of Belize’s banana exports in 2017. In addition, 81% of Guyanan, and 64% Jamaican sugar cane exports went to the UK.
These preferential terms are part of the UK government’s commitment to supporting developing countries to reduce poverty through trade. It will help them to grow their economies, create jobs, increase incomes and reduce reliance on overseas aid in the long-term.
In 2017 total trade between the UK and the region was worth around £2.5 billion. Replicating this deal will allow the UK to continue building the trading relationship with our Commonwealth partners.
Based on current trade flows, exporters of bananas and other fruits and nuts could save over £14 million a year in tariff charges that could apply if the agreement wasn’t in place, while exporters of sugarcane and other sugar products could save more than £20 million.
Consumers in the UK will continue to benefit from more choice and lower prices for products from these countries.
The agreement also covers the services sector, including tourism, which will benefit Brits who spend £900 million a year during some 900,000 visits to the Caribbean.
It will help small and medium businesses in the Caribbean to promote sustainable tourism and follow international environmental and quality standards.
Other countries include Barbados, Belize, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, The Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia,