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Trade policy in CARICOM: overview of the main trade policy measures

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Corporate author:
  • NU. CEPAL. Sede Subregional para el Caribe
UN symbol.: LC/CAR/G.591 31 p. : tabls. Editorial: ECLAC December 1999

Description

Executive Summary This paper reviews trade policy regimes in CARICOM countries during the 1980s and 1990s. CARICOM trade policy regimes have undergone substantial changes in the 1990s reflecting the desire of the grouP's member countries to move away from inwardlooking to more outward-oriented growth and development. The growing recognition of the importance of export promotion policies led to the adoption of a programme for the Harmonization of Fiscal Incentives to Industry in 1993. All the CARICOM countries have introduced a series of export promotion measures, including fiscal incentive regimes and export financing schemes.Despite the policy of trade liberalization adopted by many countries and which, in general, has resulted in the reduction of tariffs, many CARICOM countries continue to apply additional trade charges, such as customs surcharges, stamp duty and discriminatory rates of consumption taxes. These taxes affect imports of non-CARICOM and CARICOM countries. Non-tariff barriers are also widely used in CARICOM countries. While some countries, notably Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, have removed non-tariff barriers on imports from CARICOM countries, others, such as Barbados and the OECS countries, still maintain an array of such measures. The number of policy measures of a restrictive nature still in operation in CARICOM point to the need for further trade liberalization. Indeed, it is argued that international and regional negotiations particularly those for the establishment of the FTAA, present a golden opportunity for the Caribbean countries to further liberalize their trade.