The Caribbean Community and Common Market


The Caribbean Community and Common Market, CARICOM

Overview

Summary of the Current Agreement

History

Organisation

Agreements

 

Overview

The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which was signed by Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago and came into effect on August 1, 1973. Subsequently the other eigth Caribbean territories joint CARICOM. The Bahamas became the 13th Member State of the Community on July 4, 1983. Suriname became the 14th Member State of the Caribbean Community on July 4, 1995.

In July 1991, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos became Associated Members of CARICOM. Twelve other States from Latin America and the Caribbean enjoy Observer Status in various Institutions of the Community and CARICOM Ministerial bodies.

Caricom Members

Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Turks and Caicos Islands, The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands,Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago.

Caricom Observers

Anguilla, The Cayman Islands, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Netherlands Antilles.

Caricom aims at the eventual integration of its members and economies, and the creation of a common market. From its inception, the Community has concentrated on the promotion of the integration of the economies of Member States, coordinating the foreign policies of the independent Member States and in Functional Cooperation, especially in relation to various areas of social and human endeavour.

Summary of the Agreement

The current agreement can be summarised as follows:

- EXPORTERS -

Customs Surtaxes
NA.
Single or Various Tariff Reduction Schedules
Single: Yes. Various: No.
MFN Treatment for Tariffs
No, there are special provisions for the less developed members.
Sectoral Safeguard: Exchange Rate Movements
No.

- SERVICES-

Temporary Entry of Business Persons, Service Providers/Investors
Yes.
Professional Services
Sets out obligations regarding establishment, services, and movement of capital.
Financial Services
Liberalization refers to banking only.
Transportation Services
No.
Telecommunication Services
No.

-MANUFACTURING/PRODUCTION-

Drawbacks
No. Each member may refuse to treat as originating goods that benefit from export incentives or tax relief programs.
Duty-free Zones and Cross-Border Assembly Plants
No.
National Treatment Provisions
Yes: (for goods and services) Technical Standards. No: Plant and Animal Health Standards.
Rules of Origin Requirements
Yes.

History

The establishment of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) was the result of a 15-year effort to fulfil the hope of regional integration which was born with the establishment of the British West Indies Federation in 1958. It was a Federal Government drawn from 10 member islands. Although a plan for a Customs Union was drawn up, emphasis was not placed on economic aspects of Federation during the four years of its existence. Economically the Region remained as it had been for centuries and not even Free Trade was introduced between the Member Countries during this period. The West Indies Federation came to an end in 1962 but its end, in many ways must be regarded as the real beginning of what is now the Caribbean Community.

The end of the Federation meant the beginning of more serious efforts on the part of the political leaders in the Caribbean to strengthen the ties between the islands and mainland by providing for the continuance and strengthening of the areas of cooperation that existed during the Federation. To this end in mid-1962 a Common Services Conference was called to take decisions on these services, the major ones among them being the University of the West Indies (UWI), founded in 1948 and the Regional Shipping Services set up during the Federation to control the operation of the two ships donated in 1962 by the government of Canada - the Federal Palm and the Federal Maple.

The Caribbean Meteorological Service was established one year after, in 1963 and along with the UWI and the Regional Shipping Service, represented the heart of Caribbean cooperation directly after the end of the Federation.

In addition to the decision to continue the process of inter-state cooperation, notwithstanding the dissolution of the Federation, the year 1962 also marked two important developments of a Caribbean Community: the attainment of independence by both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in August that year and with it the power to control their own domestic and external affairs.

In announcing its intention to withdraw from the Federation, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago proposed the creation of a Caribbean Community, consisting not only of the 10 members of the Federation, but also of the three Guianas and all the islands of the Caribbean Sea - both independent and non-independent.

To discuss this concept, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago convened the first Heads of Government Conference in July 1963, in Trinidad and Tobago. This Conference was attended by the leaders of Barbados, British Guiana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. At this Conference, the leaders of the four(4) Caribbean Countries all spoke clearly of the need for close cooperation with Europe, Africa and Latin America.

The first Heads of Government Conference proved to be the first in a series of Conferences among the leaders of Commonwealth Caribbean Countries. In July 1965, talks between the Premiers of Barbados and British Guiana and the Chief Minister of Antigua on the possible establishment of a Free Trade Area in the Caribbean resulted in the announcement that month of definite plans to establish such a Free Trade Area. This was carried further in December that year (1965), when the Heads of Government of Antigua, Barbados and British Guiana signed an Agreement at Dickenson Bay, Antigua, to set up the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA).

In the interest of common action and close cooperation among all the Commonwealth Caribbean territories, the actual start of the Free Trade Association was deliberately delayed in order to allow the rest of the Region, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica and all the Windward and Leeward islands to become members of the newly formed Free Trade Association.

The Fourth Heads of Government Conference agreed to establish CARIFTA formally and to include as many Commonwealth Countries as possible in a new agreement of December 1965. It was also agreed that the Free Trade Association was to be the beginning of what would become the Caribbean Common Market which would be established (through a number of stages) for the achievement of a viable Economic Community of Caribbean Territories.

At the same time in recognition of their special development problems, several special provisions were agreed upon for the benefit of the seven Member States, which now make up the OECS States and Belize. The new Carifta agreement came into effect on May 1, 1968, with the participation of Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. The original idea to permit all territories in the Region to participate in the Association was achieved later that year with the entry of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent in July and of Jamaica and Montserrat on August 1, 1968. British Honduras (Belize) became a member in May 1971.

Emerging also from the 1967 Heads of Government Conference was the establishment of the Commonwealth Caribbean Regional Secretariat on May 1, 1968 in Georgetown Guyana and of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in October 1969 in Bridgetown, Barbados.

It was at the Seventh Heads of Government Conference in October 1972, that the Caribbean Leaders decided to transform CARIFTA into a Common Market and establish the Caribbean Community of which the Common Market would be an integral part.

At the Eighth Heads of Government Conference of CARIFTA held in April 1973 in Georgetown, Guyana the decision to establish the Caribbean Community was brought into fruition with the consideration of Heads of Government of the draft legal instruments and with the signing by 11 members of CARIFTA (the exception being Antigua and Montserrat). The Accord provided for the signature of the Caribbean Community Treaty on July 4 and its coming into effect in August 1973, among the then four independent countries: Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. The Georgetown Accord also provided that the other eight territories - Antigua, British Honduras, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Montserrat, St. Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla and St. Vincent which signed the Accord would become full members of the Community by May 1, 1974.

The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which was signed by Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago and came into effect on August 1, 1973. Subsequently the other eigth Caribbean territories joint CARICOM. The Bahamas became the 13th Member State of the Community on July 4, 1983.

In July 1991, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos became Associated Members of CARICOM. Twelve other States from Latin America and the Caribbean enjoy Observer Status in various Institutions of the Community and CARICOM Ministerial bodies.

Suriname became the 14th Member State of the Caribbean Community on July 4, 1995.

From its inception, the Community has concentrated on the promotion of the integration of the economies of Member States, coordinating the foreign policies of the independent Member States and in Functional Cooperation, especially in relation to various areas of social and human endeavour.

Some of the principal issues currently on the regional agenda include: restructuring of Regional Organs and Institutions; and analysis of the impact of NAFTA on existing arrangements such as the Caribbean-Canada Trade Agreement, CARIBCAN, and the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI); resolution of the Haitian crisis; strengthening of relations with the wider Caribbean through the establishment of trade and economic agreements with Venezuela, Columbia, and the wider Caribbean, the Association of Caribbean States; and deepening the integration process in the Community through the formation of a Single Market and Economy.

At the Eighth CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in 1987 the Prime Minister of Barbados presented the concept establishing a representative and deliberate institution which associates the people of the Region through their chosen representatives, with the task of promoting the Regional development process. In 1989 at the 10th Conference of Heads of Government in Grenada, Barbados presented a discussion paper outlining a proposal. In March 1990, agreement was reached on a draft Inter Governmental Agreement providing for the establishment of the proposed body.

The inaugural meeting of the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians (ACCP), took place in Barbados on May 27-29, 1996. To date the following Member States have signed and ratified the Agreement: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago. Turks and Caicos Islands has deposited the instrument of accession.

The work on the CSM&E includes the negotiation of Protocols which will effectively amend the Treaty of Chaguaramas. The first of these, which provides for the restructuring of the Organs and Institutions of the Community, and redefining their functional relationship entered into force provissionally on July 4, 1997.

Protocol II, on the rights of establishment, Provision of Services and Movement of Capital will enter into force upon signature by all Member States.

The Eighteenth Conference of Heads of Governments agreed to admit Haiti to Membership of the Community.

Organisation

The Conference of Heads of Government (The Conference)

Bureau of the Conference

The decision to create the Bureau of the Conference was taken at the Special Meeting of Heads of Government in October 1992. The responsibility of the Bureau is to:

The Bureau came into operation in December 1992. The Bureau consists of the Chairman of the Conference, as Chairman, as well as the incoming and outgoing Chairmen of the Conference and the Secretary-General in the capacity of the Chief Executive Officer.

The Community Council of Ministers (The Council).

The Council is the second highest Organ. It consists of Ministers responsible for Community Affairs and any other Minister designate in Member States in their absolute discretion. It is responsible for the development of Community strategic planning and coordination in the areas of economic integration, functional cooperation and external relations.

The Community Council of Ministers is responsible for formulating policies and performing functions in relation to cooperation, in services such as: Education, Health, Labour Matters and Foreign Policies. Each member state is represented on each Council by a Minister of Government.

The Councils are:

The principal Organs shall be assisted by the following Organs:

  1. The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED)
  2. The Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR)
  3. The Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) and
  4. The Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP)

Institutions

There are several institutions of the Caribbean Community responsible for formulating policies and supervising cooperation and services such as education, health, labour matters and foreign policy.

Institutions of the Community are:

and such other Institutions as may be designated by the Conference.

Associate Institutions of the Community

The following are Associate Instutions of the Community:

and such other Institutions as may be designated by the Conference.

Agreements

Treaty establishing the Caribbean Community

Protocol I amending the Treaty

Protocol II amending the Treaty

Charter of Civil Society

Agreement on Social Security

Agreement for the establishment of an Assembly of Caribbean Community


For more information visit Caricom's home page: http://www.caricom.org

For recent trends in Caricom see Inter-American Development Bank's article on Caricom

 


Globalization and Workers' Rights

HOME
GLOBALIZATION
NATIONAL FRAMEWORK
MULTINATIONALS
INVESTMENT FUNDS
INTERNATIONAL LABOUR LAW
CODES OF CONDUCT FOR MULTINATIONALS
CORPORATE CODES OF CONDUCT
LABOUR MARKET TRENDS
AND GLOBALIZATION'S IMPACT

International Labour Office
Bureau for Workers' Activities
CH-1211 Geneva 22
Fax: +41 22 799 6570
ACTRAV Homepage: http://www.ilo.org/actrav/