Caribbean Trade Reference Centre

Caribbean Trade Reference Centre

Regional Integration Initiatives in the Americas
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In the world of trade relations, regionalism is often defined as “actions by governments to liberalise or facilitate trade on a regional basis, sometimes through free trade areas or customs unions.” This broad definition encompasses a number of trade liberalisation initiatives with different market integration scopes and objectives, such as Preferential Trade Areas (PTAs), Free Trade Areas (FTAs), Custom Unions, Common Markets and Economic Unions. Some examples of regional integration initiatives in the Americas are:

NAFTA : North American Free Trade Agreement
CACM : Central American Common Market
CARICOM : Caribbean Community and Common Market
OECS : Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
CAN : Andean Community
MERCOSUR : Common Market of the South
ALADI : Latin American Integration Association
Selected Caribbean Regional Bodies
CRNM - Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery
Established in April 1997 by the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery assists Caribbean countries in the coordination and management of trade policy with aim of facilitating the formulation of a unified negotiating strategy among members. The functions of the CRNM range from providing advise facilitating the generation of national positions to leading the negotiations in representation of member countries. At the Heads of Government Meeting held in Belize in March 2009, the leaders of the region took the decision of incorporating the CRNM, as a specialized unit, into the CARICOM Secretariat.

CCJ - Caribbean Court of Justice (offsite link)
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is the regional judicial tribunal established on 14 February 2001 by the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice. The agreement was signed on that date by the Caribbean Community (Caricom) states of: Antigua & Barbuda; Barbados; Belize; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Lucia; Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. Two further states, Dominica and St. Vincent & The Grenadines, signed the agreement on 15 February 2003, bringing the total number of signatories to 12. The CCJ was inaugurated on 16 April 2005 in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.

CROSQ - CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (offsite link)
The CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) was created by the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as an Inter-Governmental Organisation. The mandate of CROSQ is to harmonise and implement standards, to facilitate international competitiveness, and to increase regional and international trade; for the sustainable production of goods and services in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), and the enhancement of social and economic development.

CARIBBEAN EXPORT - Caribbean Export Development Agency (offsite link)
The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), a regional organisation of the Forum of Caribbean States (CARIFORUM), became operational on January 1, 1996 but operated under project status prior to 1996 since 1989.
Caribbean Export's mission is to facilitate selected exporters and potential exporters from the Caribbean to increase exports by providing the highest quality services in the areas of technical assistance, market research, training, market promotion, trade information, trade advocacy and other related services on an increasingly revenue-earning basis.
Caribbean Export offers to regional and international clients on a cost-sharing basis, commercial and consulting services. As a regional inter-government agency with funding from the European Union, CARIFORUM Governments and market specialists in the Caribbean, Latin America, North America and Europe, Caribbean Export is dedicated to helping Caribbean exporters increase their international competitiveness and export earnings.

CCLEC - Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (offsite link)
The Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) was established in the early 1970’s as an informal association of customs administrations within the Caribbean region. The principal objectives of the Council in these early years was the exchange of information on smuggling and helping the smaller regional administrations adjust to the new threat of organized drug trafficking through the region.
The mission of the CCLEC is to upgrade the effectiveness and efficiency of its member Customs administrations in pursuing their mandates, through cooperation, sharing of best practices, human resource development, modernization, automation, harmonization of processes and procedures and information/intelligence sharing.

CDB - Caribbean Development Bank (offsite link)
CDB intends to be the leading Caribbean development finance institution, working in an efficient, responsive and collaborative manner with our borrowing members, towards the systematic reduction of poverty in their countries, through social and economic development.

CADRI - Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (offsite link)
The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) was established in 1975 to serve the agricultural research and development needs of the member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

CTO - Caribbean Tourism Organization (offsite link)
The CTO, with headquarters in Barbados, comprises 32 member countries, including English, French, Spanish and Dutch countries and territories, as well as private sector allied members. These include the Caribbean Hotel Association, companies, organizations and persons providing products and services to the Caribbean tourism industry.
Readings on Integration Agreements and the World Trading System
Regional Integration Agreements (RIAs): Introduction and Overview
  1. De Melo, "Regionalism and Developing Countries: A Primer"
  2. World Bank, "Regional Integration Agreements"
  3. De Melo and Panagariya, "Introduction"
  4. Schiff and Winters, "Regional Integration Agreements: An Overview"
  5. Irwin, "Multilateral and Bilateral Trade Policies in the World Trading System: An Historical Perspective"
The Economics of Preferential Trading Arrangements: I
  1. World Bank, "Economic Benefits and Costs"
  2. Schiff and Winters, "How Trade Blocs Increase Competition and Welfare"
  3. De Melo, Panagariya and Rodrik, "The New Regionalism: A Country Perspective"
  4. C. Carrère, "Revisiting the Effects of RTAs on Trade with Proper Specification of the Gravity Equation"
The Economics of Preferential Trading Arrangements: II
  1. Schiff and Winters, "Stimulating Investment"
  2. Schiff and Winters, "Growth and Location"
  3. Fink and Mattoo, " "Regional Agreements and Trade in Services: Policy Issues"
The Political Economy of Regionalism and Implementation Issues
  1. World Bank, "Politics and Policymaking"
  2. Schiff and Winters, "Regional Integration as Politics"
  3. Olarreaga, Soloaga and Winters, "What’s Behind Mercosur’s Common External Tariff?"
  4. Estevadeordal and Suominen, "Rules of Origin: A World Map and Trade Effects
Regionalism and the Multilateral Trading System
  1. Finger, "GATT’s Influence on Regional Arrangements"
  2. World Bank, "Trade Blocs and the World Trading System"
  3. Bhagwati, "Regionalism and Multilateralism: An Overview"
  4. Krugman, "Regionalism vs. Multilateralism: Analytical Notes"
  5. Schiff and Winters, "Trade Blocs and the Rest of the World"
  6. Winters, "Regionalism vs. Multilateralism"
Summing It All Up
  1. World Bank, Conclusion: Tell Me the Truth About Trade Blocs
  2. World Bank, "Policy Choices"
by Jaime de Melo Université de Genève