Throughout the world many countries have tried to form strong alliances for varying reasons and among the top of that list would be for war and trade. The Caribbean as a region has found it necessary to form such an alliance, not for war but for trade. The need for such alliance gave way to the birth of a Single Market for the Caribbean region - The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
In order to understand the advantages and disadvantages of such a single market one must seek to understand what is meant by a single market and how the SCME come about. What is a Single Market?
Although the concept of a Single Market was never precisely defined, it may be interpreted as a single large economic space – covering a large geographical areas- with common policies on product regulation and freedom of movement of all the factors of production . This single market structure promotes the removal of all physical (borders), technical (standards) and fiscal (taxes) barriers among member states. Therefore the goal that movement of capital, labour, goods and services between the members would become as easy as within any one particular state. The CARICOM Single Market & Economy – A Brief History
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) consists of fifteen (15) small-sized countries, situated along the Caribbean Sea, and including 6 million inhabitants. It is the smallest "economic bloc" in Americas, if not in the world. The CARICOM Single Market & Economy is the vision of these 15 CARICOM states to build shared prosperity by removing trade barriers.
The history of the CARICOM Single Market & Economy dates as far back as 1968 where the Caribbean Free Trade area was established. The CARIFTA served the purpose, though limited, of removing tariffs and other barriers to the trade of goods within the Caribbean region. This integration process was strengthened via the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas in 1973. This treaty included provisions to create a common market in the region with measures to protect the regional industries by implementing a common external tariff. Additionally, the treaty also contained provisions for the removal of barriers relating to the movement of capital, the establishment of businesses, the provision of services and the co-ordination of economic policies.
In years following the signing of the treaty some Caribbean economies, as a result of borrowings from multinational lending institutions, underwent structural adjustment as a condition to the loan(s). At the core of the adjustment programs were programs of economic, financial and trade liberalization that went above their commitments as expressed in the Chaguaramas Treaty. This led to the decision of CARICOM Heads of Government to make a decision to expand their initial vision of a common market into a fully fledged Single Market Economy.
By 2002, the proposed single market, as opposed to the CARIFTA arrangement, would not only see the removal of barrier of trade in goods but also services, technology, capital, free movement of skilled persons in an environment where Caribbean citizens would enjoy new and unfettered rights to establish businesses anywhere in the region. The overall aim is to make the Caribbean region stronger and provide faster, wider and deeper access to international markets, an opportunity that individual countries would not be able to enjoy.
The members of the CSME are:
• St. Kitts & Nevis
• Saint Lucia
• St. Vincent & The Grenadines
• Trinidad & Tobago
ADVANTAGES OF THE csme
The benefits to be derived from the implementation of the CSME are discussed below. FREE MOVEMENT OF LABOUR
The CSME provides the legal framework for free movement of...