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COVID-19 and trade: sharing the experiences of the Caribbean and Europe

Posted on 05 November 2020

In July 2020, the University of West Indies and the European University Institute signed a partnership agreement, which foresees collaboration in areas of study and research common to both institutions, with a view to focusing on sustainable development, multilateral trade, gender equality, security, environment and climate change, migration, energy, regional integration processes and transnational governance.

On 29 October, the two institutions live-streamed their partnership inauguration e-dialogue.  The chosen theme for this initial dialogue was COVID-19, given its relevance and huge impact on the trade and economic fortunes of both the Caribbean and Europe. The event aimed to provide a forum for information-sharing, comparative analysis and debate of interest to policy-makers, academia, researchers and the public.


Speakers at the e-dialogue included:

  • H.E. Joy-Ann Skinner, Ambassador of Barbados to the EU
  • Bernard Hoekman, Director of the Global Economics Research Area of the Global Governance Programme, Dean of External Relations
  • Felipe De La Mota, European Union Team Leader for Regional Integration and Trade programmes in the Caribbean
  • Don Marshall, Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus

According to Bernard Hoekman, analysing the effects of government actions in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires information on the policy changes that have been implemented.  One example he presented is the EUI-Global Trade Alert and World Bank initiative to monitor the use of trade measures during the pandemic.

The e-dialogue illustrated how such data can inform analysis of the potential effects of policy responses on Caribbean countries. It also highlighted the importance of devoting greater attention to how the EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement can be used to enhance the resilience of Caribbean countries to major external shocks.

In commenting on the partnership between the EUI and UWI, Professor Hoekman stated that  “bolstering partnerships with non-European institutions is a key element of the EUI’s internationalisation strategy. The new partnership with the UWI offers an important platform to cooperate with the leading transnational university in the Caribbean on subjects of common interest.”

A recording of the event is available on Facebook here.

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