Knowledge Note

Caribbean countries face a rapidly changing trade environment, which presents both opportunities and challenges for economies highly dependent on external markets. The features of the new trade environment include: i) redefinition of relations with their main trading partners, including the United States, where Caribbean exports continue to enjoy preferential access under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, and the European Union, through the recently signed Economic Partnership Agreement; ii) the increasing economic influence of the new growth poles1 (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and Korea) ; iii) and the redesign of the CARICOM regional trade agreement in order to implement the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME) as well as a number of preferential trade agreements within the region. These changes are likely to change the trading structure of the Caribbean countries and, through this restructuring, to have implications for the welfare of these economies. Understanding these implications is critical in terms of designing appropriate policy response to the trade changes but also in terms of eventually re-shaping trade agreements and policies.