Caribbean Community and Common Market Is Established Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

In 1973, the leaders of four British Commonwealth Caribbean nations agreed to establish the Caribbean Community and Common Market to replace the Caribbean Free Trade Association.

Summary of Event

With the signing of the Dickerson Bay Agreement Dickerson Bay Agreement (1965) in Antigua on December 15, 1965, the countries of Antigua, Barbados, and British Guiana (now Guyana) formed the Caribbean Free Trade Association Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA). However, the real beginning of CARIFTA was delayed so that true Commonwealth Caribbean representation would be ensured with the later addition of the countries of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and all the Windward and Leeward Islands to CARIFTA. The original founding members of CARIFTA were joined in 1968 by Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Montserrat. The Central American country of Belize, with its economic and cultural as well as historical ties to the Caribbean, was welcomed as a member of CARIFTA in 1971. Caribbean Community and Common Market [kw]Caribbean Community and Common Market Is Established (Aug. 1, 1973) [kw]Common Market Is Established, Caribbean Community and (Aug. 1, 1973) [kw]Market Is Established, Caribbean Community and Common (Aug. 1, 1973) Caribbean Community and Common Market [g]West Indies;Aug. 1, 1973: Caribbean Community and Common Market Is Established[01250] [g]Trinidad and Tobago;Aug. 1, 1973: Caribbean Community and Common Market Is Established[01250] [c]Government and politics;Aug. 1, 1973: Caribbean Community and Common Market Is Established[01250] [c]Organizations and institutions;Aug. 1, 1973: Caribbean Community and Common Market Is Established[01250] [c]Trade and commerce;Aug. 1, 1973: Caribbean Community and Common Market Is Established[01250] Barrow, Errol Chung, Arthur Manley, Michael Williams, Eric

The primary purposes of CARIFTA were to increase internal trade among member states; to guarantee fair competition among all members; to guarantee that all members received their rightful and just share of the benefits of free trade; to promote the development of industry in the less developed countries (LDCs); to expand and diversify the types and quantities of goods available for trade among member states; to eliminate, over time, tariffs, quotas, and custom duties on selected products and goods that were indispensable for the growth in revenue of the LDCs; and to establish an agricultural marketing protocol. From CARIFTA’s outset, members agreed that the association would include as many British Commonwealth countries as possible and would eventually become a Caribbean common market, the main purpose of which would be the attainment of a workable and feasible economic community composed primarily of countries of the Caribbean region. Toward this end, at the Heads of Governments Conference held in May, 1967, the Commonwealth Caribbean Regional Secretariat was formed in 1968 and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) was established in October, 1969, in Bridgetown, Barbados.





In April, 1973, at the Heads of Government Conference held in Georgetown, Guyana, the decision was made to transform CARIFTA into a common market and to establish the Caribbean Community. The members present signed an accord indicating their agreement that a common market would be an indispensable benefit to the Caribbean Community and that all signatories of the accord would be granted full membership in this community.

The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) was formally established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas, Chaguaramas, Treaty of (1973) which was signed on July 4, 1973, in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago, and became effective on August 1, 1973. The original members of CARICOM were Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago. As the organization grew, the integrating members of CARICOM were divided into member states and associate member states.


CARICOM is concerned primarily with economic issues of member states, including issues of economic integration and trade organizations. CARICOM is led by the Conference of Heads of Government, which is the supreme governing organ of the community. This body, which consists of the heads of government of member states, is the ultimate authority of CARICOM. Among its many responsibilities, the Conference of Heads of Government determines and disseminates policies of the Caribbean Community, concludes treaties for the community, decides on the nature and scope of economic and other relationships between the community and other international organizations and states, and makes financial arrangements to defray expenses of the community. The conference meets twice a year and usually makes unanimous decisions.

To help it run CARICOM effectively, the Conference of Heads of Government established the Caribbean Community Secretariat, which comprises different councils, institutions, and associate institutions whose members derive from member states and represent different entities that are of concern to member states. The CARICOM Secretariat is headed by a secretary-general whose charge is to provide competent leadership and service to facilitate the international competitiveness of the Caribbean Community. The various councils of CARICOM are made up of ministers appointed by member states at their discretion. The most important of the councils are the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), and the Council for Finance and Planning (COFAP).

CARICOM also established a number of institutions to devise policies and supervise internal services in such areas as health, labor, and education. The most important of these are the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARD), the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), the Caribbean Food Corporation (CFC), the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI), the Caribbean Centre for Adult Education (CARCAE), the Association of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians (ACCP), the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI), the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), and the Commonwealth Caribbean Medical Research Council (CCMRC). In addition, associate institutions provide support essential to the accomplishment of the stated missions of the institutions. Important among these are the Caribbean Development bank, the University of Guyana, the University of the West Indies, the Caribbean Law Institute, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, and the Anton De Kom University of Suriname. The Conference of Heads of Government is empowered to create additional councils and institutions as needs arise.

Of greatest interest to CARICOM is the accomplishment of the primary mission of providing a single market and economy to member states. To that end, the organization has established the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the chief elements of which include a uniform trade policy, free movement of goods among member states and sharing of collected custom revenues, common rate of duty for all members, permission from member states to establish CARICOM-owned businesses, free movement of capital within each member state, free movement of labor through measures such as transfer of social security benefits from one member state to another, coordination of monetary exchange rates and interest rates, and coordination of particular national budgets to reflect the needs and services of member states.

Since its establishment, CARICOM has diligently and successfully served the educational, cultural, social, and economic needs of its member states. It has further played an essential international and national role in the economic development of both member and associate member states. Because of its strong leadership and clearly articulated goals, CARICOM has earned the respect and cooperation of other international organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union. Caribbean Community and Common Market

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Anneke, Joseph, and Ennio Rodríguez. The Caribbean Community: Facing the Challenges of Regional and Global Integration. Buenos Aires: Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean, 1999. Provides a comprehensive summary of the economic and social challenges that CARICOM faces as it is integrated into the world market as a result of globalization.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Nurse, Lawrence. Public Policy and Industrial Relations in the English-Speaking Caribbean: The Challenge of Regionalism. Cave Hill, Barbados: Institute of Social and Economic Research, 1980. Provides an account of the political and regional problems facing CARICOM as it integrates member states with widely differing geographic locations.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Payne, Anthony. The Politics of the Caribbean Community, 1961-79: Regional Integration Amongst New States. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1980. Presents a detailed summary of the political problems facing CARICOM as it expands to include member states with different cultures, economies, and languages.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Thomas, Marcia E. The New Trade Environment: Implications for CARICOM Trade Policy. Mona, Jamaica: Department of Economics, University of the West Indies, 2000. Provides a panoramic overview of international trade practices and their potential effects on CARICOM.

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Categories: History