History of CSME

The history of the CSME can be traced back to 1968, with the establishment of the Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) which served the limited purpose of removing tariffs and other barriers to intra-regional trade in goods.

In 1973, the integration process was deepened, through the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas which included provisions to create a form of Common Market in the region.

To the pre-existing arrangements to support the liberalisation of trade in goods was added the establishment of a common external-tariff, designed to provide some measure of protection to regional industries.

The 1973 Treaty also contained provisions relating to the removal of restrictions in respect of the establishment of businesses, provision of services, the movement of capital and the coordination of economic policies.

In the ensuing years, some of the principal Caribbean economies, under the auspices of multilateral lending institutions, implemented structural adjustment programmes having at their core, programmes of economic, financial and trade liberalisation that far exceeded their commitments as expressed in the Treaty of Chaguaramas.

In 1989 at Grande Anse, Grenada, CARICOM Heads of Government decided to transform the limited Common Market, as originally conceived in 1973, into a fully fledged Single Market and Single Economy.

By 2002, the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas had prescribed the removal of existing barriers and to establish a Single Market space in which not only goods, but services, capital, technology, and skilled persons should freely circulate, where Caribbean citizens would enjoy new and unfettered rights of establishment of enterprise anywhere in their region.

Provisions relating to such market liberalisation have been drafted to enable Caribbean countries to confer on each other faster, broader and deeper market access in relation to capital flows, the provision of services and the like that it has, hitherto, or is prepared to confer on any other region to which it relates.

* Some information extracted from a 2004 speech by Hon. Owen Arthur, Prime Minister of Barbados

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