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Caribbean Free Trade Association

CARIFTA was founded with the intent to unite various the economies of various independent Caribbean nations and give them a joint presence on the international scene.

CARIFTA was founded by Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago on December 15, 1965, with the signing of the Dickenson Bay Agreement. They were joined on July 1, 1968 by Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines; and on August 1, 1968 by Montserrat and Jamaica. In 1971 Belize (then British Honduras) joined the Association.

map of CARIFTA member states (green=founders; gray=later members)
map of CARIFTA member states (green=founders; gray=later members)

Specifically, CARIFTA was intended to encourage balanced development of the Region by:

increasing trade - buying and selling more goods among the Member States;
diversifying trade - expanding the variety of goods and services available for trade;
liberalising trade - removing tariffs and quotas on goods produced and traded within the area; and
ensuring fair competition - setting up rules for all members to follow to protect the smaller enterprises.

The agreement also sought to:

ensure that the benefits of free trade were equitably distributed;
promote industrial development in the LDCs;
promote the development of the coconut industry (through an Oils and Fats Agreement) which was significant in many of the LDCs;
rationalise agricultural production but in the interim, facilitate the marketing of selected agricultural products of particular interest to the LDCs (through the Agricultural Marketing Protocol); and
provide a longer period to phase out customs duty on certain products which were more important for the revenue of the LDCs.

CARIFTA was superseded by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in 1973.

Caribbean Community

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This page was last updated on September 28, 2017.