Barbados–France relations

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Barbadian-French relations
Map indicating locations of Barbados and France



Barbadian-French relations are the bilateral relations between the two countries, Barbados and France. Both countries have established diplomatic relations on May 3, 1968. Barbados is represented in France through its embassy in Brussels (Belgium). France is represented in Barbados through its embassy in Castries (Saint Lucia), led by and an additional honorary consulate in Bridgetown.

Bilateral relations[edit]

The bilateral relations and trade between the two nations remain modest. In 2006, France exported to Barbados mainly: electrical equipment, wood, paper, and cardboard products. Barbados also has trade with France's territories in the Caribbean, such as Guadeloupe and Martinique. The Government of France supports 22 programmes in Barbados and ties including trade between Barbados and the French Departments in the Americas has been steadily increasing.[1] Attention in Barbados is currently being paid towards the creation of the "CARIFORUM French Caribbean Task Force" which will guide the way forward on regularised cooperation with the overseas areas of France.[2]

In 2006 the former Prime Minister Owen Arthur had announced that Barbados would begin to settle its maritime boundaries with France due to Martinique's overlapping maritime boundary with Barbados.[3] Preliminary discussions have started and are on-going to settle the maritime boundary between France and Barbados.

In 2007 the Dominican Republic and Caribbean Community bloc known as CARIFORUM began final negotiates for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Caribbean and European Union regions. During the negotiations an intense debate developed between Barbadian and French authorities over a provision that would allow certain classes of Caribbean nationals to be granted free movement within the European Union in exchange for the removal of tariffs on European products such as automobiles and mobile phones to the Caribbean.[4]

The Barbadian Prime Minister Owen Arthur said the disagreement threatened to derail talks and stating to the media:

"The Caribbean could clearly not enter any new trade arrangement with anybody and accept a limitation on market access to our cultural workers, our artistes and our entertainers when we give people access to our markets. [ . . . ] "The heads have made a very clear decision that we could not conclude the agreement with Europe at all unless there is a removal on the restriction".[5]

Talks proceeded shortly after and the agreement was agreed upon between the two regions on 16 December 2007.[6]

As a followup of the Economic Partnership Agreement, in May 2009 the European Union (Schengen Area) signed a visa waiver agreement with Barbados and five other nations around the world allowing the citizens of the nations involved to travel visa free for up to three months to each other's territories.[7] The visa-waiver agreement covers both Barbados and France however not the French territories. The Barbados Government indicated though that negotiations would be on-going to reach an agreement with France to allow for visa-free travel to the French Territories and Outer Departments (French: départements d'outre-mer and territoires d'outre-mer) in future.[8]

The Barbadian private sector organisation known as the Private Sector Trade Team (PSTT) has taken an increasingly active interest in encouraging Barbadians businesses to expand their trade with the territories of France under the same EPA agreement.[9]

French citizens in Barbados held the second Bastille Day celebration in 2009. The celebration at Brandon's Beach, Saint Michael was sponsored by the French Honorary Consulate in Barbados, as well as the Mount Gay Rum company. During the event it was outlined that Alliance Française de Bridgetown was actively pursuing several initiatives with the Barbadian Ministry of Education concerning French culture.[10]

In 2009 the Barbados Tourism Authority began placing large emphasis on developing air-links between the French West Indies and Barbados through the sponsorship of charter flights.[11]

In September 2009 the French Frigate "The Ventôse", commanded by Captain Pascal Le Barbier docked in Bridgetown, Barbados following a joint anti-drug campaign by both nations. During the visit the Ambassador of France in Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados, Mr. Michel Trinquier visited with French nationals living in Barbados.[12]

In June 2010 French officials from Martinique's Regional Council and Chamber of Commerce visited Barbados for a three-day dialogue on formal cultural exchanges and joint-collaboration between industries in the both countries.[13]

In July 2011 the French Mayor Jose Toribio of Lamentin, Guadeloupe, toured over a dozen primary schools in Barbados. He met with the Barbadian Minister of Education, Ronald Jones where both counterparts discussed several avenues of cooperation between Barbados and France including a student and teacher exchanges and cooperation in furthering an English–French immersion between Barbados and the French Departments. The leaders also spoke of a desire for a more regional approach to education.[14]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Barbados and France bilateral relations
  2. ^ B, J (2009-12-10). "Identify more export markets". Barbados Advocate. Archived from the original on 2012-02-26. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  3. ^ Barbados and France Discuss Delimitation of their Maritime Boundaries - 7 June 2006
  4. ^ "CARICOM faces EPA roadblock". Caribbean News Agency (CANA). 2007-12-09. Archived from the original on 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  5. ^ "Caricom makes EPA stand". 2007-12-10. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  6. ^ "Negotiators agree on new EPA". Caribbean News Agency (CANA). 2007-12-16. Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  7. ^ "Short-stay visa waiver agreements signed between EU and four Caribbean countries". Caribbean NetNews Newspaper. 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2009-06-04. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Visa-Free Travel For Barbadians To European Countries In The Schengen Area". Barbados Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. 2009-05-28. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  9. ^ Barbadian companies to get help exploiting EPA, 26 March 2009, Caribbean360 News
  10. ^ A, C (2009-07-22). "French consulate marks Bastille Day". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 2009-07-22. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Barbados targets affluent francophone Caribbean". 2009-08-01. Archived from the original on 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  12. ^ writer, Staff (September 2009). "The visit of French Frigate "The Ventose" in Barbados". The French Embassy in Trinidad-and-Tobago and Barbados. Trinidad and Tobago. On the occasion of an Anti-drug campaign, the fruit of a collaboration between French and Barbadian authorities, the "Ventôse", French Frigate commanded by Captain Pascal LE BARBIER, docked into Bridgetown (capital of Barbados) from 9th - 12th September, 2009. [dead link]
  13. ^ Branker, Nadia. "Martinique forging culture links with B'dos". Barbados Advocate. p. 24 June 2010. Archived from the original on 2012-03-11. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Staff writer (10 July 2011). "Cross-Fertilisation Important To Guadeloupe And Barbados". Bajan Sun Online. Archived from the original on 2012-04-01. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 

External links[edit]