ECDPM. 2006. Overview of the regional EPA negotiations: Caribbean-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (ECDPM InBrief 14C). Maastricht : ECDPM.
The purpose of this InBrief series is to provide a synthesis of the main elements and issues at stake for the 6 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) groupings negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). Each InBrief offers an overview of the economic and regional integration dynamics influencing the structure, pace, and outcome of the EPA negotiation process for each region. It also focuses on the main issues and challenges to be tackled by each region in order to make the new trade arrangement a development oriented instrument. Each regional InBrief is complemented by an update on the ongoing EPA negotiation process.
The Caribbean region is composed of many small islands that are greatly dependent on trade for their economic development. In 1999, the share of trade in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to 80%, compared to 49% for sub-Saharan Africa and 46% for the world on average.
Despite the importance of its external trade relations, particularly with the United States and the European Union, the Caribbean has experienced a sharp decline in its share of world trade, falling from 1.7% in 1950 to 0.2% in 2000 with regard to world merchandise exports. The region has therefore been unable to benefit from global trade liberalisation. Furthermore, the Caribbean economies are scarcely diversified, with services, especially travel and tourism, and agriculture currently playing the major role.