The CARICOM Single Market and Economy
, also known as the Caribbean Single Market and Economy
), is an integrated development strategy envisioned at the 10th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community
The Caribbean Community is an organisation of 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies. CARICOM's main purposes are to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy...
which took place in July 1989 in Grand Anse, Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...
. The Grand Anse Declaration had three key Features:
- Deepening economic integration by advancing beyond a common market towards a Single Market and Economy.
- Widening the membership and thereby expanding the economic mass of the Caribbean Community (e.g. Suriname and Haiti were admitted as full members in 1995 and 2002 respectively).
- Progressive insertion of the region into the global trading and economic system by strengthening trading links with non-traditional partners.
A precursor to CARICOM and its CSME was the Caribbean Free Trade Agreement, formed in 1965 and dissolved in 1973.
Single Market and Economy
The CSME will be implemented through a number of phases, first being the CARICOM Single Market (CSM). The CSM was initially implemented on January 1, 2006 with the signing of the document for its implementation by six original member states. As of July 3, 2006, it now has 12 members. Although the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) has been established, it is only expected to be fully implemented in 2008. This will be achieved with the harmonization of economic policy, and possibly a single currency.
At the eighteenth Inter-Sessional CARICOM Heads of Government Conference in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from 12–14 February 2007, it was agreed that while the framework for the Single Economy would be on target for 2008, the recommendations of a report on the CSME for the phased implementation of the Single Economy would be accepted. The Single Economy is now expected to be implemented in two phases.
Phase 1 is to take place between 2008 and 2009 with the consolidation of the Single Market and the initiation of the Single Economy. Its main elements would include:
- The outline of the Development Vision and the Regional Development Strategy
- The extension of categories of free movement of labour and the streamlining of existing procedures, including contingent rights
- Full implementation of free movement of service providers, with streamlined procedures
- Implementation of Legal status (i.e. legal entrenchment) for the CARICOM Charter for Civil Society
- Establishment and commencement of operations of the Regional Development Fund
- Approval of the CARICOM Investment Regime and CARICOM Financial Services Agreement, to come into effect by January 1, 2009
- Establishment of the Regional Stock Exchange
- Implementation of the provisions the Rose Hall Declaration on Governance and Mature Regionalism, including:
- The automatic application of decisions of the Conference of Heads of Government at the national level in certain defined areas.
- The creation of a CARICOM Commission with Executive Authority in the implementation of decisions in certain defined areas.
- The automatic generation of resources to fund regional institutions.
- The strengthening of the role of the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians.
- Further technical work, in collaboration with stakeholders, on regional policy frameworks for energy, agriculture, sustainable tourism
Sustainable tourism is tourism attempting to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate future employment for local people. The aim of sustainable tourism is to ensure that development brings a positive experience for local people, tourism companies and the...
, agro-tourism, transport, new export services and small and medium enterprises.
During Phase 1 it is also expected that by January 1, 2009, there would be:
- Negotiation and political approval of the Protocol on Enhanced Monetary Cooperation
- Agreement among Central Banks on common CARICOM currency numeraire
Numéraire is a basic standard by which values are measured. Acting as the numéraire is one of the functions of money, to serve as a unit of account: to measure the worth of different goods and services relative to one another, i.e. in same units...
- Detailed technical work on the harmonisation of taxation regimes and fiscal incentives (to commence on January 1, 2009).
Phase 2 is to take place between 2010 and 2015 and consists of the consolidation and completion of the Single Economy. It is expected that decisions taken during Phase 1 would be implemented within this time period, although the details will depend on the technical work, consultations and decisions that would have been taken. Phase 2 will include:
- Harmonisation of taxation systems, incentives and the financial and regulatory environment
- Implementation of common policies in agriculture, energy-related industries, transport, small and medium enterprises, sustainable tourism and agro-tourism
- Implementation of the Regional Competition Policy and Regional Intellectual Property Regime
- Harmonisation of fiscal and monetary policies
- Implementation of a CARICOM Monetary Union.
Current 12 full members of both CARICOM and the CSME:
Of the 12 members expected to join the CSME, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago were the first six to implement the CARICOM Single Market on January 1, 2006. Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were the next batch of members (six in all) that joined the CSM on July 3, 2006 at the recent CARICOM Heads of Government Conference.
Current full members of CARICOM and signatory for the CSME:
Montserrat is currently awaiting entrustment (approval) of the United Kingdom with regards to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas in order to participate.
Current full members of CARICOM but not the CSME:
Haiti has not completed its accession to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and is therefore not a participant in the Single Market and Economy.
Current 5 associate members of CARICOM but not the CSME:
- (July 1991)
- (July 1991)
- (July 1999)
- (15 May 2002)
- (2 July 2003)
Current 7 observing members of CARICOM but not the CSME:
Caribbean Court of Justice
The Caribbean Court of Justice
The Caribbean Court of Justice is the judicial institution of the Caribbean Community . Established in 2001, it is based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago....
(CCJ) is the Highest regional Court established by the Agreement Establishing in the Caribbean Court of Justice. It has a long gestation period commencing in 1970 when the Jamaican delegation at the Sixth Heads of Government Conference, which convened in Jamaica, proposed the establishment of a Caribbean Court of Appeal in substitution for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
The Caribbean Court of Justice has been designed to be more than a court of last resort for Member States of the Caribbean Community of the Privy Council, the CCJ was vested with an original jurisdiction in respect of the interpretation and application of the Treaty Establishing the Caribbean Community (Treaty of Chaguramas) In effect, the CCJ would exercise both an appellate and an original jurisdiction.
In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ considers and determines appeals in both civil and criminal matters from common law courts within the jurisdiction of Member States of the Community and which are parties to the Agreement Establishing the CCJ. In the discharge of its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ is the highest municipal court in the Region. In the exercise of its original jurisdiction, the CCJ will be discharging the functions of an international tribunal applying rules of international law in respect of the interpretation and application of the Treaty and so will be the court of arbitration for trade disputes under the CSME.
Currently, only Two Countries are full signatories to the Court, which are: Barbados and Guyana, it is expected that by the end of 2010, all 14 member countries would be fully involved.
(Source; CARICOM's official website at)
Trade in Goods
All goods which meet the CARICOM rules of origin are traded duty free throughout the region (except The Bahamas), therefore all good originating within the region can be traded without restrictions. In addition, most member states apply a Common External Tariff (CET) on good originating from non-CARICOM countries. There are, however, some areas still to be developed:
- Treatment of products made in Free Zones – there is need for regional agreement on how these goods are to be treated since they are usually manufactured at reduced tariff by foreign companies.
- The removal of some specific non-tariff barriers in various member-states.
Another key element in relations to goods is Free Circulation. This provision allows for the free movement of goods imported from extra regional sources which would require collection of taxes at first point of entry into the CSME and for the sharing of collected customs revenue.
(Sources; JIS website on the CSME at and CARICOM website on the CSME at)
Harmonization of Standards
Complementary to the free movement of goods will be the guarantee of acceptable standards of these goods and services. To accomplish this, CARICOM members have established the Caribbean Regional Organization on Standards and Quality (CROSQ). The Organization will be responsible for establishing regional standards in the manufacture and trade of goods which all Member States must adhere to. This Organization was established by a separate agreement from the CSME.
(Source; JIS website on the CSME - see references)
Regional accreditation bodies are planned to assess qualifications for equivalency, complementary to the free movement of persons. To this end, the Member States have concluded the Agreement on Accreditation for Education in Medical and other Health Professions. By this agreement, an Authority (the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medical and Other Health Professions) is established which will be responsible for accrediting doctors and other health care personnel throughout the CSME. The Authority will be Headquartered in Jamaica, which is one of among six states (Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago) in which is agreement is already in force. The Bahamas has also signed on to the Agreement.
Region-wide accreditation has also been planned for vocational skills. Currently local training agencies award National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) or national Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) certification, which are not valid across Member States. However, in 2003, the Caribbean Association of National Agencies (CANTA) was formed as an umbrella organization of the various local training agencies including Trinidad and Tobago's National Training Agency, the Barbados TVET Council and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States TVET agency and the HEART Trust/NTA of Jamaica. Since 2005, the member organizations of CANTA have been working together to ensure a uniformed level of certified skilled labour under the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) and CANTA itself has established a regional certification scheme that awards the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ), which is to replace NVQs and national TVET certifications. The CVQ will be school-based and although based on the certification scheme of CANTA, will be awarded by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) which will be collaborating with CANTA on the CVQ programme. At the February 9–10, 2007 meeting of the Regional Coordinating Mechanism for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, officials discussed arrangements for the award of the CVQ which was approved by the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) in October 2006. It is now expected that the CVQ programme may be in place by mid-2007, if all the requirements are met and that provisions were being made for the holders of current NVQs to have them converted into the regionally accepted type (although no clear mandate is yet in place).
(Main Sources; JIS website on the CSME and Google Cache of SICE - Establishment of the CSME at - see references)
Trade in Services and The Right of Establishment
Along with the free trade in goods, the Revised Treaty also provides the framework for the establishment of a regime for free trade in services. The main objective is to facilitate trade and investment in the services sectors of CSME Member States through the establishment of economic enterprises. The free trade regime for services grants the following benefits:
|The Right of Establishment
||CARICOM-owned companies will have the right to establish and operate businesses in any CSME member-state under the same terms and conditions as local companies, i.e. without restrictions. Managerial, technical and supervisory staff of these enterprises will be able to enter and work without work permits.
||CARICOM service providers will be able to offer their services throughout the region, again without work permits, usually on a temporary basis, e.g., consultancies.
(Source; JIS website on the CSME - see references)
Work Permits and the Free Movement of People
The Free Movement of Skilled Persons, arises from an agreed CARICOM policy that was originally separate but related to the original Protocol II of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. The agreed policy, called The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Free Movement of Persons Act, is now enacted legislation in all the CSME Member States. It provides for the free movement of certain categories of skilled labour, but according to the policy there is to be eventual free movement of all persons, originally by 2008, but now by 2009. Under this legislation, persons within these categories can qualify for Skills Certificates (which allow for the free movement across the region).
Since the start of the CSM, eight categories of CARICOM nationals have been eligible for free movement throughout the CSME without the need for work permits. They are: University Graduates, Media Workers, Artistes, Musicians, Sportspersons, Managers, Technical and Supervisory Staff attached to a company and Self-Employed Persons/Service Providers. In addition the spouses and immediate dependent family members of these nationals will also be exempt from work permit requirements. At the July 2006 CARICOM Summit, it was agreed to allow for free movement of two more categories of skilled persons; tertiary-trained Teachers and Nurses. It was also agreed that higglers, artisans, domestic worker
A domestic worker is a man, woman or child who works within the employer's household. Domestic workers perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family, from providing care for children and elderly dependents to cleaning and household maintenance, known as housekeeping...
s and hospitality workers are to be added to the categories of labour allowed free movement at a later date, pending the agreement of an appropriate certification.
The freedom to live and work throughout the CSME is granted by the Certificate of Recognition of CARICOM Skills Qualification (commonly called a CARICOM Skills Certificate or just Skills Certificate). The Skills Certificate essentially replaces work permits and are obtained from the requisite ministry once all the essential documents/qualifications (which varies with each category of skilled persons) are handed in with an application. The issuing ministry varies depending upon the CARICOM Member State. In Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and Suriname the Skills Ceritificates are issued by the Ministry of Labour. Grenada, Guyana, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago have Ministries for Caribbean Community Affairs which deal with the Certificates. Meanwhile, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines issue the Certificates through the Ministries of Immigration. The Skills Certificate can be applied for in either the home or host country.
At the eighteenth Inter-Sessional CARICOM Heads of Government Conference in February, it was agreed that artisans would not be immediately granted free movement status from January (as was originally envisaged), but would rather be granted free movement by mid-2007. The free movement of artisans will be facilitated through the award of Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) based on industrial occupational standards. The conference also agreed that the free movement of domestic workers and hospitality workers could be facilitated in a similar manner to the free movement of artisans and that their cases would be considered after the CVQ model is launched.
The Free Movement of Labour is also being facilitated by measures to harmonize social services (health, education
The Caribbean Examinations Council or CXC was established in 1972 under Agreement by the Participating Governments in the Area to conduct such examinations as it may think appropriate and award certificates and diplomas on the results of any such examinations so conducted...
, etc.) and providing for the transfer of social security benefits (with the Bahamas also being involved). Regional accreditation will also facilitate the free movement of people/labour.
Concurrent with (and to some extent pre-dating) the free movement of people is the easier facilitation of intra-regional travel. This aim is being accomplished by the use of separate Lines identified for CARICOM and Non-CARICOM Nationals at Ports of entry (already in place for all 13 members) and the introduction of a CARICOM Passport and Standardized Entry/Departure Forms.
(Main Sources; JIS website on the CSME and CARICOM website on the CSME - see references)
In relation to a number of issues such as professional services, residency and land ownership, legislation in the various member states used to discriminate in favour of their individual nationals. This legislation has been amended, as of 2005, to remove the discriminatory provisions. This will allow CARICOM nationals, for example, to be eligible for registration in their respective professions on an equal basis.
However, shortly before signing onto the CSM, the second batch of member states (all in the OECS) negotiated an opt-out agreement with regards to land ownership by non-nationals. As the OECS members of the CSM are all small countries and have limited available land, they are allowed to keep their Alien Land Holding Laws or Alien Landholders Acts (which apply to the ownership of land by non-nationals), but will put in place mechanisms to ensure compliance with the Revised Treaty that will monitor the granting of access to land and the conditions of such access. As it now stands foreign companies or nationals have to seek legal permission to buy land. All other laws relating to discrimination in favour of member state nationals only have been amended though. Among the non-OECS members of the CSM, there are no restrictions on private land ownership by CARICOM nationals (although in Suriname, and possibly in the other members as well, restrictions still apply with regards to state-owned land).
(Main Source; JIS website on the CSME - see references)
Harmonization of Legislation
The Revised Treaty also calls for harmonized regimes in a number of areas: Anti-dumping and countervailing measures, Banking and securities, Commercial arbitration, Competition policy, Consumer protection, Customs, Intellectual property rights, Regulation and labelling of food and drugs, Sanitary and phytosanitary measures, Standards and technical regulations & Subsidies.
Draft model legislation is being developed by a CARICOM Legislative Drafting Facility in collaboration with the Chief Parliamentary Counsels of the region
(Main Source; JIS website on the CSME - see references)
Free Movement of Capital
The free movement of Capital involves the elimination of the various restrictions such as foreign exchange controls and allowing for the convertibility of currencies (already in effect) or a single currency and capital market integration via a regional stock exchange. The member states have also signed and ratified an Intra-Regional Double Taxation
Double taxation is the systematic imposition of two or more taxes on the same income , asset , or financial transaction . It refers to taxation by two or more countries of the same income, asset or transaction, for example income paid by an entity of one country to a resident of a different country...
Many countries have agreed with other countries in treaties to mitigate the effects of double taxation . Tax treaties may cover income taxes, inheritance taxes, value added taxes, or other taxes...
Although not expected until between 2010 and 2015, it is intended that the CSME will have a single currency. As it stands a number of the CSME members are already in a currency union
A currency union is where two or more states share the same currency, though without there necessarily having any further integration such as an Economic and Monetary Union, which has in addition a customs union and a single market.There are three types of currency unions:#Informal - unilateral...
with the Eastern Caribbean dollar and the strength of most regional currencies (with the exception of Jamaica's and Guyana's) should make any future exchange-rate harmonization between CSME members fairly straightforward as a step towards a monetary union.
The aim of forming a CARICOM monetary union is not new. As a precursor to this idea the various CARICOM countries established a compensation procedure to favour the use of the member states currencies. The procedure was aimed at ensuring monetary stability and promoting trade development. This monetary compensation scheme was at first bilateral, but this system was limited and unwieldy because each member state had to have a separate account for each of its CARICOM trade partners and the accounts had to be individually balanced at the end of each credit period. The system became multilateral in 1977 and was called the CARICOM Multilateral Clearing Facility (CMCF). The CMCF was supposed to favour the use of internal CARICOM currencies for transaction settlement and to promote banking cooperation and monetary cooperation between member states. Each country was allowed a fixed credit line and initially the CMCF was successful enough that both the total credit line and the credit period were extended by 1982. However, the CMCF failed shortly thereafter in the early 1980s due to Guyana's inability to settle its debts and Barbados being unable to grant new payment terms
Despite the failure of the CMCF, in 1992 the CARICOM Heads of Government
The CARICOM heads of government serve as the most important body leading key policy direction for the Caribbean Community organisation and for the implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.-Current leaders:...
determined that CARICOM should move towards monetary integration and commissioned their central bankers to study the possible creation of a monetary union among CARICOM countries. It was argued that monetary integration would provide benefits such as exchange rate and price stability and reduced transaction costs in regional trade. It was also thought that these benefits in turn would stimulate capital flows, intra-regional trade and investment, improve balance of payments performance and increase growth and employment.
The Central Bank Governors produced a report in March 1992 that outlined the necessary steps and criteria for a monetary union by 2000. The 1992 criteria were amended in 1996 and were known as the 3-12-36-15 criteria. They required that:
- countries maintain foreign reserves equivalent to 3 months of import cover or 80% of central bank current liabilities (whichever was greater) for 12 months;
- the exchange rate be maintained at a fixed rate to the US dollar (for Fixers
A fixed exchange rate, sometimes called a pegged exchange rate, is a type of exchange rate regime wherein a currency's value is matched to the value of another single currency or to a basket of other currencies, or to another measure of value, such as gold.A fixed exchange rate is usually used to...
) or within a band of 1.5% on either side of parity (for Floaters
A floating exchange rate or fluctuating exchange rate is a type of exchange rate regime wherein a currency's value is allowed to fluctuate according to the foreign exchange market. A currency that uses a floating exchange rate is known as a floating currency....
) for 36 consecutive months without external debt payment arrears and;
- the debt service ratio
In economics and government finance, debt service ratio is the ratio of debt service payments of a country to that country’s export earnings. A country's international finances are healthier when this ratio is low...
to be maintained within 15% of the export of goods and services.
The report envisioned the fulfilment of a monetary union in 3 phases on the basis of grouping the member states into 2 categories, A and B. Category A included the Bahamas, Belize and OECS states. Category A countries had already met the original criteria in 1992 and only had to maintain economic stability to begin the monetary union. Category B consisted of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago (Suriname and Haiti were not yet members and so were not included). These countries had to make the necessary adjustments to meet the entry criteria.
Phase 1 of the monetary union process was scheduled to conclude in 1996. It was to include the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the OECS states and Trinidad and Tobago and there was to have been a common currency as a unit of account (cf. the Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...
from 1999–2002) amongst these states with the exception of the Bahamas and Belize. This phase would also involve the coordination of monetary policies and the movement towards intra-regional currency convertibility among all member states. Phase 1 would also have seen the formation of a Council of CARICOM Central Bank Governors to oversee the entire process.
Phase 2 was to have occurred between 1997 and 2000 and should have seen a number of initiatives:
- the formation of a Caribbean Monetary Authority (CMA), which would be accountable to a Council of Ministers of Finance.
- the issuance and circulation of a physical common currency in all Phase 1 countries except the Bahamas.
- the use of the new currency in the other countries (the Bahamas, Guyana and Jamaica) as a unit of account in settling regional transactions.
- the continued efforts by Guyana and Jamaica to meet the criteria for entry into the monetary union if they had not already done so and achieved economic stability.
Phase 3 was planned to begin in 2000 and had as its ultimate goal to have all CARICOM countries entering into the monetary union and membership of the CMA.
However, the implementation of Phase 1 was put on hold in 1993 as a result of Trinidad and Tobago floating its dollar
The dollar is the currency of Trinidad and Tobago. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively TT$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies. It is subdivided into 100 cents...
. In response and in an effort to continue pursuing monetary cooperation and integration, CARICOM Central Bank Governors made their regional currencies fully inter-convertible. A subsequent proposal called for Barbados, Belize and the OECS states to form a currency union by 1997 but this also failed.