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CARICOM - Challenges and Opportunities for Caribbean Economic Integration

CARICOM - Challenges and Opportunities for Caribbean Economic Integration

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Published by Guilherme Cruz
In 1973, the smaller, largely English-speaking countries of the Eastern
Caribbean launched the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM),
an integration plan intended to coordinate and enhance the collective economic and
social development of 15 countries. After three decades of incremental success,
CARICOM’s strategy for achieving complete economic integration now rests on
implementing the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), formally
established on January 1, 2006, and intended to be fully in place by 2015.
CARICOM is a highly trade-dependent region undergoing major changes to its
economic relationships with the world. Adjusting to these changes through the
CSME is its primary development challenge. To realize the CSME vision, the
member countries would have to implement considerably deeper commitments to
integration.
The Caribbean Basin has been a long-standing strategic interest of the United
States. The success of CARICOM, as well as the continued stability of the region,
have important implications for U.S. trade, investment, immigration, drug
interdiction, and national security policies. Although small in size, CARICOM’s
trade and investment relationship with the United States may become a more
prominent issue as the region adjusts to the changing external environment.
CARICOM faces dual challenges in its quest for economic integration through
the CSME. First, it must complete the intraregional integration scheme, including
tightening a loose common external tariff and intraregional trade policy, integrating
more fully labor and capital markets, and deepening “functional cooperation” –
pooling resources to improve efficiency in the delivery of public services. Second,
it must devise and implement strategies for “inserting” the CARICOM economies
into a dynamic and competitive global economy in the wake of expiring preferential
trade arrangements with its two largest trade partners, the United States and the
European Union (EU).
Two trade policy issues command immediate attention. Implementing the EU
Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), completed in December 2007, is the first.
The EPA is a reciprocal, WTO-compliant accord that replaces unilateral preferential
arrangements in place since 1975. Second, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership
Act (CBTPA) preferences will expire on September 30, 2008, unless extended by the
U.S. Congress. Although these preferences currently apply to only seven CARICOM
members and have already been eroded considerably by U.S. free trade agreements
with other countries in the region, CARICOM strongly advocates their renewal and
expansion as it evaluates the costs and benefits of pursuing a reciprocal FTA of its
own with the United States. This report evaluates CARICOM’s development and
implications for U.S. foreign economic policy. It will be updated periodically. For
more on Caribbean issues, see CRS Report RL34157, Caribbean-U.S. Relations:
Issues in the 110th Congress, by Mark P. Sullivan, and CRS Report RL33951, U.S.
Trade Policy and the Caribbean: From Trade Preferences to Free Trade
Agreements, by J. F. Hornbeck.
In 1973, the smaller, largely English-speaking countries of the Eastern
Caribbean launched the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM),
an integration plan intended to coordinate and enhance the collective economic and
social development of 15 countries. After three decades of incremental success,
CARICOM’s strategy for achieving complete economic integration now rests on
implementing the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), formally
established on January 1, 2006, and intended to be fully in place by 2015.
CARICOM is a highly trade-dependent region undergoing major changes to its
economic relationships with the world. Adjusting to these changes through the
CSME is its primary development challenge. To realize the CSME vision, the
member countries would have to implement considerably deeper commitments to
integration.
The Caribbean Basin has been a long-standing strategic interest of the United
States. The success of CARICOM, as well as the continued stability of the region,
have important implications for U.S. trade, investment, immigration, drug
interdiction, and national security policies. Although small in size, CARICOM’s
trade and investment relationship with the United States may become a more
prominent issue as the region adjusts to the changing external environment.
CARICOM faces dual challenges in its quest for economic integration through
the CSME. First, it must complete the intraregional integration scheme, including
tightening a loose common external tariff and intraregional trade policy, integrating
more fully labor and capital markets, and deepening “functional cooperation” –
pooling resources to improve efficiency in the delivery of public services. Second,
it must devise and implement strategies for “inserting” the CARICOM economies
into a dynamic and competitive global economy in the wake of expiring preferential
trade arrangements with its two largest trade partners, the United States and the
European Union (EU).
Two trade policy issues command immediate attention. Implementing the EU
Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), completed in December 2007, is the first.
The EPA is a reciprocal, WTO-compliant accord that replaces unilateral preferential
arrangements in place since 1975. Second, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership
Act (CBTPA) preferences will expire on September 30, 2008, unless extended by the
U.S. Congress. Although these preferences currently apply to only seven CARICOM
members and have already been eroded considerably by U.S. free trade agreements
with other countries in the region, CARICOM strongly advocates their renewal and
expansion as it evaluates the costs and benefits of pursuing a reciprocal FTA of its
own with the United States. This report evaluates CARICOM’s development and
implications for U.S. foreign economic policy. It will be updated periodically. For
more on Caribbean issues, see CRS Report RL34157, Caribbean-U.S. Relations:
Issues in the 110th Congress, by Mark P. Sullivan, and CRS Report RL33951, U.S.
Trade Policy and the Caribbean: From Trade Preferences to Free Trade
Agreements, by J. F. Hornbeck.

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Published by: Guilherme Cruz on Sep 26, 2010
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Order Code RL34308
CARICOM: Challenges and Opportunities forCaribbean Economic Integration
January 7, 2008
J. F. HornbeckSpecialist in International Trade and FinanceForeign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
 
CARICOM: Challenges and Opportunities for CaribbeanEconomic Integration
Summary
In 1973, the smaller, largely English-speaking countries of the EasternCaribbean launched the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM),an integration plan intended to coordinate and enhance the collective economic andsocial development of 15 countries. After three decades of incremental success,CARICOM’s strategy for achieving complete economic integration now rests onimplementing the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), formallyestablished on January 1, 2006, and intended to be fully in place by 2015.CARICOM is a highly trade-dependent region undergoing major changes to itseconomic relationships with the world. Adjusting to these changes through theCSME is its primary development challenge. To realize the CSME vision, themember countries would have to implement considerably deeper commitments tointegration.The Caribbean Basin has been a long-standing strategic interest of the UnitedStates. The success of CARICOM, as well as the continued stability of the region,have important implications for U.S. trade, investment, immigration, druginterdiction, and national security policies. Although small in size, CARICOM’strade and investment relationship with the United States may become a moreprominent issue as the region adjusts to the changing external environment.CARICOM faces dual challenges in its quest for economic integration throughthe CSME. First, it must complete the intraregional integration scheme, includingtightening a loose common external tariff and intraregional trade policy, integratingmore fully labor and capital markets, and deepening “functional cooperation” –pooling resources to improve efficiency in the delivery of public services. Second,it must devise and implement strategies for “inserting” the CARICOM economiesinto a dynamic and competitive global economy in the wake of expiring preferentialtrade arrangements with its two largest trade partners, the United States and theEuropean Union (EU).Two trade policy issues command immediate attention. Implementing the EUEconomic Partnership Agreement (EPA), completed in December 2007, is the first.The EPA is a reciprocal, WTO-compliant accord that replaces unilateral preferentialarrangements in place since 1975. Second, the Caribbean Basin Trade PartnershipAct (CBTPA) preferences will expire on September 30, 2008, unless extended by theU.S. Congress. Although these preferences currently apply to only seven CARICOMmembers and have already been eroded considerably by U.S. free trade agreementswith other countries in the region, CARICOM strongly advocates their renewal andexpansion as it evaluates the costs and benefits of pursuing a reciprocal FTA of itsown with the United States. This report evaluates CARICOM’s development andimplications for U.S. foreign economic policy. It will be updated periodically. Formore on Caribbean issues, see CRS Report RL34157,
Caribbean-U.S. Relations: Issues in the 110
th
Congress
, by Mark P. Sullivan, and CRS Report RL33951,
U.S.Trade Policy and the Caribbean: From Trade Preferences to Free Trade Agreements
, by J. F. Hornbeck.
 
Contents
CARICOM: Background and Development.............................1Early Integration Efforts.........................................4Challenges to Integration........................................7Transition to the CSME.........................................9CARICOM: Trade and Investment with the World.......................11CARICOM Trade Policy: Strategy and Implementation..............11CARICOM Direction of Merchandise Trade........................12EU and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).................15U.S.-CARICOM Trade Relations................................16Redefining the U.S.-CARICOM Trade Relationship.............18Internet Gambling Dispute..................................20WTO and the Doha Round.....................................21Bilateral Agreements..........................................22Outlook........................................................23
List of Figures
Figure 1. Map of the Caribbean Region.................................2Figure 2. CARICOM Direction of Merchandise Trade, 2004..............13Figure 3. CARICOM Trade and Investment Trends, 1994-2004............14Figure 4. U.S.-CARICOM Merchandise Trade, 2000-2006................17
List of Tables
Table 1. CARICOM Countries: Selected Indicators......................3Table 2. CARICOM Intraregional and Extraregional Trade................12Table 3. U.S. Foreign Direct Investment in CARICOM...................18

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