CARICOM rests on four main pillars: economic integration; foreign policy coordination; human and social development; and security. The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) is an ambitious and ongoing effort by fifteen CARICOM countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Monsterrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago) to deepen their economic integration.
In addition to the community’s 15 full members, there are 5 associate members and 7 observers. The 5 associate members are Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos. The role of the associate members, which are all British overseas territories, is not established. The observers are states which engage in at least one of CARICOM’s technical committees.
Barbados considers the CSME to be of increasing importance. CARICOM is now fully engaged in establishing the CSME as soon as possible.
As a group of small economies, access to premium inputs to production can be difficult and costly, and therefore reduces our ability to compete effectively in a competitive world economy. In addition, the region is involved in a range of trade Agreements and negotiations at the bilateral, hemispheric and multilateral levels, and it is considered necessary to have a unified regional platform, such as the CSME.
Barbados and CARICOM/CSME
CARICOM is one of Barbados’ major trading partners. The Prime Minister of Barbados being the lead CARICOM Head of Government with responsibility for the implementation of the CSME is tasked with ensuring the deepening of regional economic integration in order to achieve economic development based on international competitiveness, functional co-operation and enhanced trade and economic relations with third states.
To date, several pieces of legislation have been amended to facilitate the entry of CARICOM nationals and the establishment of regional businesses. Likewise local businesses and residents will have the right to enter and carry on commercial activity in other regional markets. As the integration effort proceeds wider pool of resources – human, physical, intellectual and otherwise – will be available providing the environment for greater economic growth domestically and regionally.
The Single Market
Restrictions to trade in goods among CARICOM states were systematically removed over the years and a common external tariff (CET) introduced. Barbados has removed all barriers to imports and exports for CARICOM states. Restrictions to trade in services have also been removed. Those remaining restrictions provide security to the economic and social systems. Those procedures required to ensure the health and safety of the country, as well as those to verify that legitimate activity takes place, remain in effect in Barbados.
The Single Economy
Much work remains ahead of CARICOM in order to implement a Single Economy. The key elements of the Single Economy are (i) the macro-economic framework; (ii) sectoral development; and (iii) institutional arrangements. As part of its efforts to integrate into the global economy, CARICOM has negotiated and signed bilateral trade agreements with Venezuela, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Costa Rica.
Implementing the CSME
A Unit responsible for coordinating Barbados’ implementation of its obligations under the CSME has been established in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Queries regarding exporting to CARICOM Member States by local business persons, should be forwarded to the Foreign Trade Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade at firstname.lastname@example.org.