Foreign Trade


Barbados’ relationship with the European Union (EU) is an extension of its colonial ties with the United Kingdom (UK).  Barbados, as a member of CARIFORUM (CARICOM and the Dominican Republic) negotiated a Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (REPA) with the EU.  

Traditionally, the EU has been Barbados’ principal market for sugar and rum exports.  The Cotonou Agreement addresses the treatment of sugar in Protocol 3, while there is a Joint Declaration XXV on rum.  Given the changing rules in the EU with respect to sugar over the years, Barbados and other members of CARICOM are considering how to restructure their sugar industries.

Review of Cotonou

The Cotonou Agreement calls for a review of the provisions of that Agreement for possible amendment before the end of each five-year period during the twenty-year partnership.  In February 2005 the first such five-year review of the Cotonou Agreement was conducted.  Discussions were conducted under the following four thematic areas:

  • political dimensions
  • development strategies
  • rules and procedures
  • investment facility

Both the ACP and the EU proposed areas for possible amendment as a result of their review processes. 

Barbados is signatory of the Cotonou agreement and the European Partnership Agreement (EPA). A National Indicative Programme of €3.5 million for the 11th EDF was signed in 2014, with renewable energy as the focal sector. Barbados also benefitted from the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol (AMSP), where a combined €42.3 million was allocated from 2010-16.

The 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP), worth €24 million, was signed in December 2016 and launched in Barbados in March 2017. Under the 11th EDF, Barbados benefits from a €3.5 million allocation which focuses on the energy sector and, more specifically, on renewable energy and energy efficiency.


The CARIFORUM UK EPA Agreement seeks to replicate the region’s preferential trade provisions with the United Kingdom of Great Britain following the advent of the British exit from the European Union.