Emerging Players in the Caribbean: What Implications for the Caribbean, their Relations with the EU and the ACP?

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    Traditionally, the Caribbean maintained trade and economic relations predominantly with the US, Canada and Europe. However, changes in the global economy have led the Caribbean, like other regions, to increasingly engage in trade and economic relations with the emerging BRICs economies (in particular Brazil, India, China) and Venezuela. It is likely that the Caribbean’s increasing engagement with these emerging economies has an impact on the Caribbean and its relations with traditional partners.

    Key Purpose of ECDPM Study

    This discussion paper aims to highlight some important implications that the Caribbean’s increasing engagement with the emerging economies might bring for the Caribbean and its relations with Europe and the ACP Group.

    In doing so, this paper provides an overview of 1) the background of Caribbean relations with the emerging economies and the EU (European Union), 2) the foreign policy framework of the emerging economies and the EU with the Caribbean, 3) the strategic interests of the Caribbean, the emerging economies and the European Union and 4) key issues relating to trade and select examples of investment and development programmes and projects. 

    Key Findings of ECDPM

    • Increased engagement with emerging economies might lead the Caribbean’s attention away from traditional partners. The fact that the emerging economies are seen as fellow developing countries may further contribute to this shift.
    • The diversity of the Caribbean’s economic engagement with new partners is providing the Caribbean with greater confidence in its foreign policy relations with Europe.
    • Caribbean development and the regional integration process are also impacted. If major economic activities and development cooperation continue to intensify with the emerging players, the ACP framework will decrease in relevance for the Caribbean.
    • It is important for the Caribbean to assess the implications of old and new relationships for Caribbean development and regional integration.
    • The national development plans of Caribbean countries and their goals for regional integration should be the foundational pillar for informing the nature of engagement with emerging players and the EU.
    • The critical success value of any type of engagement with new or traditional players is the extent to which the relationship strengthens regional integration, an important prerequisite for Caribbean development.

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