SURINAME   -  Trade Information Database

Challenges and Opportunities
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Globalisation, or the increased interconnectedness of countries, presents significant opportunities and challenges for all nations worldwide. While globalisation has brought many benefits in terms of increasing trade and investment, countries have also had to face some difficult adjustment costs. Caribbean and other small countries share a number of characteristics that pose special challenges as they integrate into the international economic system. Several comprehensive studies on the challenges and opportunities for Caribbean countries in globalisation have been conducted. The Commonwealth Secretariat and the World Bank Joint Task Force on Small States' report, "Small States: Meeting Challenges in the Global Economy" , presents a good introduction to the implications of small-size economies as well as a general overview of the main challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. These issues are also addressed in "Caribbean Perspectives on Trade, Regional Integration and a Strategic Global Repositioning" , a research paper presented to the Caribbean Group for Cooperation in Economic Development (CGCED). For more information on the Small States Project click here.

This section of the Caribbean Trade Resource Centre includes information on the challenges presented by increasingly complex multilateral and regional trade negotiations, eroding preferences, the regional integration initiative under the CSME, as well as the impact that "small-size" has on trade and economic integration.
Unilateral Preferences: Erosion and Expiration
Preferential Schemes
Generalized System of Preferences
Caribbean Basin Initiative
Cotonou Agreement
Since the late 1960s, unilateral preferential schemes, such as the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), CARIBCAN, the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), and the Lomé Convention and Cotonou Agreement preferences have provided reduced or zero tariff rates over the most favoured nation (MFN) rates for certain products originating from the Caribbean and other developing countries.

Preferential agreements, however, are evolving and liberalisation at the multilateral level, through WTO negotiating rounds, as well as through regional trade agreements, threatens to erode the value of preferential access. Trade preference dependent countries are increasingly challenged to enhance their competitiveness in order to still benefit under a more liberalised multilateral trading system.

Articles on the Erosion of Preferences
Preference-Dependent Economies & Multilateral Liberalisation: Impact and Options
Commonwealth Secretariat
Trade Preferences for LDCs: An Early Assessment of Benefits and Possible Improvements

A book published by the World Bank and Palgrave MacMillan in early 2009 reviews the current “value” of preferences for beneficiary countries in major OECD markets, assesses the implications of preference erosion under different global liberalization scenarios, and discuss potential policy responses. This work was organized by The World Bank in cooperation with OECD and the WTO and with support from the Canadian International Development Agency and the UK Department for International Development. The papers listed below are the preliminary versions of the book chapters:
For more information, click here.
Focus on the Americas
Ongoing Negotiations
CARICOM - Canada
Trade Agreements
CARICOM - Colombia
CARICOM - Costa Rica
CARICOM - Dominican Republic
CARICOM - Venezuela
Association of Caribbean States
Efforts at closer economic integration with Latin American countries began in the early 1990s as CARICOM countries explored alternatives to traditional trade relationships based on eroding preferences. In the early stages, CARICOM reached trade agreements with Colombia and Venezuela—agreements that were to begin as preferential agreements that gradually evolved towards reciprocity in the case of the agreement with Colombia - and participated in the creation of the Association of the Caribbean States (ACS).

In the second half of the 1990s, CARICOM fully engaged itself in trade talks with other hemispheric partners. In their 16th meeting, held in Guyana in July 1995, the CARICOM Heads of Government agreed to give priority to negotiating trade agreements with Latin American countries. CARICOM subsequently negotiated bilateral free trade agreements with the Dominican Republic (1998), Cuba (2000), and Costa Rica (2004), while actively participating in the now dormant hemispheric Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) process from 1995 to 2004. As a result, CARICOM's trade with its hemispheric partners has significantly increased during the 1990s. For more information on CARICOM trade with the Americas and the rest of the world, click here.