Countries and regions
The EU's trade and development partnership with the Caribbean stretches back over more than 30 years. At its heart today is the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, or EPA. This is a new partnership which CARIFORUM - a group of 15 Caribbean countries - and the EU signed in 2008. The agreement also comes with substantial EU aid for trade.
The purpose of the agreement is to make it easier for people and businesses from the two regions to invest in and trade with each other and thus to help Caribbean countries grow their economies and create jobs.
Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago
The EU is CARIFORUM's second largest trading partner, after the US. In 2011, trade between the two regions came to over €8 billion.
In 2013 CARIFORUM ran a trade deficit with the EU of some €0.8 billion. In other words, CARIFORUM countries exported €0.8 billion less in goods and services to the EU than they imported from the EU.
The main exports from the Caribbean to the EU are in:
- fuel and mining products, notably petroleum gas and oils;
- bananas, sugar and rum;
- minerals, notably gold, corundum, aluminium oxide and hydroxide, and iron ore products;
The main imports into the Caribbean from the EU are in:
- boats and ships, cars, constructions vehicles and engine parts;
- phone equipment;
- milk and cream;
- spirit drinks.
EU-ACP Caribbean Countries "trade in goods" statistics
|Year||EU imports||EU exports||Balance|
EU-ACP Caribbean Countries "trade in services" statistics
|Year||EU imports||EU exports||Balance|
Foreign direct investment
|Year||Inward stocks||Outward stocks||Balance|
EU and Caribbean
EU-Caribbean trade agreement
- Economic Partnership Agreements set out to help African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to improve their trade.
- The Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Surinam, Trinidad, Tobago, and the Dominican Republic, provides predictability in the market access into the EU for these countries.
- The agreement will lead to a general opening of the EU market beyond WTO commitments in the services sectors, including creative and entertainment industries.
- It ensures duty-free-quota-free market access into the EU for all products. With regard to EU exports to the region, EU exports of sensitive products will gradually be liberalised over a period of 25 years.
- The Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU will make it possible for CARIFORUM companies to set up a commercial presence in the EU.
In October 2008 Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Surinam, Trinidad, Tobago, and the Dominican Republic signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU. Haiti signed the agreement in December 2009, but is not yet applying it pending ratification.
The Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the 15 Caribbean countries is in part a free trade agreement, or FTA. And like any FTA, it opens up trade in goods between the two regions.
But unlike other FTAs, the EU-Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement goes further. In fact, it's a wide-ranging partnership putting trade at the service of development.
That is because the agreement:
- also opens up trade in services and investment;
- makes it easier to do business in the Caribbean - governments there have made commitments in many areas directly affecting trade, like rules to ensure fair competition;
- comes with financial support from the EU to help Caribbean:
- governments implement the accord; and
- businesses to use the EPA to export more and attract more outside investment.
CARIFORUM stands for the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States. In recent years CARIFORUM countries have been integrating more closely with each other. This is part of their strategy to play a fuller role in global trade, and to offer the economies of scale and simpler rules which are vital to attract more foreign investment.
The EU-Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement helps to consolidate this process, by making it easier to export goods and services between:
- the fourteen countries of the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, and the Dominican Republic, which together make up CARIFORUM;
- these fifteen countries (CARICOM plus the Dominican Republic) and seventeen territories in the Caribbean with direct links to EU countries, and which make up two distinct groups:
- four French 'outermost regions'; and
- thirteen 'overseas territories' - six British, six Dutch and one French.
To strengthen the competitiveness of economic operators in Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Surinam, Trinidad, Tobago, and the Dominican Republic – as well as the integration process of these countries in the global economy - the EU provides development cooperation in the region.
The CARIFORUM - EU Economic Partnership Agreement was signed in October 2008 and entered into provisional application in December 2008. When the Agreement was signed, it was agreed that reviews of the Agreement should take place every five years. In this regard, in 2013 a study to make a preliminary assessment of the real impact of the Agreement was launched. The final report is now available.
- Monitoring the implementation & results of the CARIFORUM–EU EPA agreement
Trading with Caribbean
- The text of the EU-Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement is available:
- The EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement in practice
- Rules and requirements for trading with the Caribbean
- Importing into the EU from the Caribbean
- EU trade defence measures on imports from the Caribbean
- Exporting from the EU to the Caribbean
- The EU is present on the ground in the Caribbean (EU Delegations in Barbados, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and for the Dutch Overseas Countries and Territories, Jamaica, Haïti)
- Trade relations are part of the EU's overall political and economic relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
- The Caribbean countries are part of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
- The EU supports aid for the Caribbean countries to trade
- Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic are members of the WTO. Bahamas has observer status in the WTO.
- How the EU is putting the EPA into practice
- Trade in goods
- Trade in services
- Development support
- Innovation and intellectual property
- Public Procurement
Support for businesses
- Caribbean Export - a region-wide agency supporting Caribbean exporters
- CDE - an agency helping businesses become more competitive
- Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies - includes links to all 15 CARIFORUM States' investment promotion agencies