By Caribbean News Global contributor
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — On March 4, Suriname joined the UK and 13 other CARIFORUM States that have already signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The deal was signed in Suriname by Surinamese minister of foreign affairs, international business and international cooperation, Albert R. Ramdin, witnessed in London by the United Kingdom’s minister for international trade, Ranil Jayawardena.
International trade minister Ranil Jayawardena said: “This agreement will be key to strengthening our bonds of prosperity, and will support jobs and livelihoods in both our countries as we look to build back better from COVID-19. I look forward to working in close partnership with Suriname and all CARIFORUM States as we continue to forge deeper trade and investment ties in 2021 and beyond.”
Suriname becomes the 14th CARIFORUM State to sign the CARIFORUM-UK EPA, securing continuity for trade and preservation of market access between the United Kingdom and 14 CARIFORUM States, providing vital assurance to businesses, consumers and investors.
“Once applied, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) will provide duty-free and quota-free access to the United Kingdom. The Agreement also includes the gradual liberalisation of tariffs on many UK exports to Suriname, including machinery, whisky and cars.
“The EPA also provides generous market access for both sides on services trade, and has provisions on intellectual property, procurement, competition and other modern trade policy issues. This is important for the deepening of bilateral trade and investment relations between the United Kingdom and Suriname,” said Department for International Trade in a press release.
Total trade in goods and services between the United Kingdom and Suriname was £19 million in 2019. Suriname’s exports to the United Kingdom include around £270,000-worth of fish and shellfish.
UK acting non-resident ambassador to Suriname Ross Denny, said: “We have found a way for Suriname to sign the agreement, despite travel and other restrictions in the UK and Suriname as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, shows the deep commitment of both sides to this Agreement.”