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Jun 29, 2000

Belize signs Cotonou agreement

Belize has signed an agreement with the European Community that has the primary aim of getting rid of poverty. It’s called the Cotonou Agreement and over the next twenty years, the European community and its member states, as well as the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States have pledged to increase trade and promote political dialogue on issues such as democracy, rule of law, governance and human rights. The interesting news is that the agreement also provides for preferential market access for products coming from countries like Belize. By the year 2002, alternative trade arrangements will be made so that the ACP countries can move into the world market smoothly, in agreement with the rules of the World Trade Organization. In the past, Belizean products had enjoyed preferential treatment across the board from the EU, but now Belizean exports will have to compete on the same level like everyone else. In addition, for the next five years, the agreement will make more than 13.5 billion Euros available to the countries, through the European Development Fund to finance national and regional ACP projects. The Cotonou Agreement was signed in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa on June 23rd. Belize was represented by a Belizean delegation headed by Keisha Diego-Grey, who signed the document on behalf of the government.

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