Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME)


What Is the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME)?

The Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) is an initiative currently being explored by the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) that would integrate all of its member-states into a single economic unit. This would result in the elimination of all tariff barriers within the region. It is hoped that such an economic unification would resolve a number of issues faced by small developing CARICOM economies who find it difficult to compete with larger international competitors on a global market.

Key Takeaways

  • The Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) is a proposed initiative that would integrate all of its member-states into a single economic unit.
  • As globalization continues to increase around the world, the ability to combine the economic unit and significantly decrease tariffs on imports and exports will foster collective bolstering of the fifteen island nations, rather than competition between them.
  • When fully completed, the proposed CSME will allow for free movement within the region, as well as the fluidity of capital and labor among member states.

Understanding the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME)

Since 1989, the Caribbean Heads of Government have agreed that an economic integration among Caribbean nations that is more advanced than the current common market is critical for the region to thrive with the increase in globalization. Especially as the world continues to be connected, many of these small island nations and countries have faced incredible competition within themselves. By combining into one cohesive economic unit, these markets will have significantly decreased tariffs on imports and exports. Rather than competing within themselves to be the market leader on certain products, they are instead able to focus on their own competitive advantages based on the resources that they possess.

In addition, the goal of the CSME aimed to reduce professional restrictions between the nations. According to the CSME official page, the fundamental aspects of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy include:

  1. Consumer Affairs
  2. Competition Policy
  3. Social Security
  4. Contingent Rights
  5. Immigration Arrangements for Free Movement of Persons
  6. Administrative Arrangements for Commercial Establishment
  7. Government Procurement
  8. Trade and Competitiveness in CARICOM

In 2006, the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) began its implementation process. However, the global financial crisis of 2008 resulted in a pause in the implementation. During that time, member-states of CARICOM have been harmonizing their tax systems, regulatory environments, and other general government policies.

There are twenty member states of the CARICOM, including 15 full-time countries, including:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Montserrat
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Kits and Nevis
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago

When fully completed the CSME will succeed CARICOM and will allow for free intra-regional movement of capital and labor among member-states. Additionally, member-states will share monetary and fiscal policies, and businesses operating in the economic union will have access to a larger market. This will help to maximize the productive capacity of the nations of the Caribbean as well as help to diversify the range of markets in which goods and services will be traded.

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