PROBLEMS FACING THE INTEGRATION OF THE REGION
There are basically three main problems the Caribbean Integration Face.
For a number of CARICOM members, as for their Latin American neighbors, the 1980s were a “lost decade” in terms of economic growth. Real GDP in the Caribbean common market contracted significantly in 1982-1985 and remained almost still in the following three years. Although declining output was mainly a result of adverse conditions in the external environment, economic management problems worsened the declining trend in some countries. This was a period of falling real incomes and high unemployment, with governments facing growing popular demands on decreasing public resources. In response to the crisis, numerous CARICOM members introduced comprehensive basic reforms, often with support from the international community. Growth restarted in the late 1980s but, in the period 1988-1996, real GDP expanded by only 2.0 percent a year on average, and output levels today remain adjacent to those documented in the early 1980s prior to the start of the crisis. Between 1990 and 1996, CARICOM’s total merchandise exports increased by 6.1 percent a year on average. This is less than the annual growth of world exports which was 7 percent and below the Latin American exports in recent years which was 11 percent.The size and pattern of CARICOM exports continues to be strongly influenced by trade preferences and historical links. The United States and the EU remain the most important export markets for CARICOM, absorbing 36 percent and 21 percent, correspondingly of its total sales overseas. Despite recent integration efforts, exports to regional markets have barely increased their share in total trade. CARICOM exports account for just 14 percent of the region’s total exports, up from 11percent in 1990. They are dominated by one country, Trinidad and Tobago. Of the top 20 products exported by the region in the period 1994-1996, ten are fuels and fuel...
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