As Barbados recognises in its relations with the countries of Latin America, the continued viability of Barbados and its sister islands in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping depends on their ability to make a successful leap from sub-regional to hemispheric integration in as brief a time frame as possible.  Both of these, in turn, depend on the creation of a dynamic CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the equally successful negotiation of entry into the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) on terms that take account of the special challenges facing the very small economies of the Hemisphere.

In truth, the shift toward creating a hemispheric economy and, in time, a shared political and social culture holds many advantages for CARICOM.  Given the extreme mobility of the human capital of the English-speaking Caribbean into North America, both to Canada and to the United States, and the heavy dependence of Caribbean markets on investment from and trade with these two countries, if appropriately pursued, a free trade agreement that recognises the peculiar concerns of Caribbean countries likely will provide for them some measure of stability and competitiveness in an intrinsically changeable global economy.

However, it is no secret that Barbados' relations with Canada and the United States have changed noticeably in the more than three decades since Barbados' independence.  For all intents and purposes, Barbados and the Caribbean exist in a world that has been fundamentally transformed since the period during which many of these islands entered the sovereign community of nations.  The end of the Cold War, the strengthening of that economic, political and cultural mechanism referred to as globalisation, the growth of international terrorism and other global criminal enterprises, the increasing complexity embedded in the international political economy, all these have profoundly impacted the manner in which Barbados approaches and conducts its relations with Canada and the United States.

Yet, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs readily admits, both of these countries remain central to the foreign policy objectives of the Government of Barbados.