This country???s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, is eagerly anticipating the upcoming debate on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in the House of Assembly and the Senate.

She stated this today while addressing the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) 10th European Development Fund Programme Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) press conference at the entity???s Baobab Tower headquarters in Warrens.

Also in attendance, was Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss.

The Minister said publicising the post-EPA achievements was important in light of repeated criticisms about a lack of information and she challenged the beneficiaries of funding to pursue the opportunities that exist and mentor other entrepreneurs.

Senator McClean said the bidirectional trading situation presented opportunities for businesses to ???seize those business opportunities that were going in this direction such as professional services where contracts are given to professionals whether it is architects or engineers to do work in the region.???

She further stated: ???But they can strategically partner with locals and, therefore as you look???there are opportunities as you do that to work with European countries to exploit markets elsewhere. We are seeing the vast development of the countries across Africa, we see what is happening in South and Central America and these are opportunities to use the provisions of the EPA???There is a multiplicity of entities here and in Europe, to seize business opportunities internationally.???

According to Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, thirty three Barbadian firms have been awarded grants. Of this number, 16 firms had been awarded grants to the tune of BDS$1 million, while 13 firms received regular procedures grants and three awarded accelerated grants.

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